Neighbours of Whanganui's new Pleasure Dome sex shop are unhappy with large hand-painted signs directing customers to its back door.

Pleasure Dome opened in Guyton St last week, with owner Colin Costello describing it as R18, selling lingerie, male cosmetics and bondage gear. It is open as late as 11pm six nights a week.

Signs were painted on private buildings during the weekend, directing customers to the shop's back door. It has been "very busy", with most people accessing it through the back door, Costello said.

Asked why people would not use the Guyton St door of the shop, he said Whanganui was a small town and discretion was needed "especially for older women and men".

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Several nearby businesses told the Wanganui Chronicle they were upset by the signs.

Jeweller Russell Jackson said the route to Pleasure Dome's back door was past their private car parks, and they were not happy about people being there late at night.

Some of the shop owners were worried about security for their goods.

One of the signs was painted out yesterday, but others remain.

Costello said he was new to Whanganui but his father, a shearer, was from the district and he had moved here after his father's death.

He had been asked to start a business selling sex aids, and he intended to stand for Whanganui District Council.

Pleasure Dome shop in Guyton Street.
Pleasure Dome shop in Guyton Street.

"I have come home and I see the holes. We live in a beautiful city. I have travelled all over the world, have an arts degree and worked in aviation and I am going to fix up some of those problems."

Pleasure Dome is his business and also sells online. He hopes to start a franchise.

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He also said he had another business, growing kowhai and gem squash and trading as R & C Kowhai Nursery Ltd. The registrar of companies has initiated action to remove that company from its register, its website says. Costello said he was trying to sell it and would like it removed from the register, but people kept objecting to that.

Helen Craig, the district council's town centre representative, said she had visited Costello.

"I offered my personal opinion that a more subtle window display can be just as effective as overt displays.

"They should consider that a pet shop is just down the street, with many children visiting, so they should consider the appropriateness of their display."

Craig added: "In all large centres there is a wide variety of retail stores, and I commend the many retailers taking the initiative to display beautiful and clean windows that enhance the shopping experience for everyone in our beautiful centre."