Over its 20-year history, much like the community it sells to, the Pride Factory has changed and evolved.
“The gay community has grown and we’re growing with it with nice products, unique fashions,” said Pride Factory owner Matthew Deak. To celebrate, Pride Factory hosted a 20-year anniversary party on March 20.
Pride Factory was previously located near Sears Town at Federal Highway and Sunrise Boulevard but relocated to Northeast 13 Street in Fort Lauderdale about 10 years ago. Lori Deak, wife of Matthew and vice president of the company, said the current location has more space, more parking and is closer to Wilton Manors. She said it’s possible the company could move into Wilton Manors one day but it would have to be a very good deal. “We’re really happy here.”
Besides the location, store manager Rocky Bowell, who has been with the company for 17 years, said the store has gone through drastic changes. “We were more of a book store. Clothing is our main focus... most of our brands [including Addicted and Pump!] are loyal to us and, in Broward, only sell to our store.”
Along with clothing, they also sell swimwear, health and beauty products, sunglasses, hats, birthday cards, condoms, lubricant and adult toys. Bowell compared Pride Factory to Macy’s because it has a little bit of everything. “I’m just thankful to the community for the support. This is a destination store.”
What Pride Factory stopped selling has also helped define it.
Formerly a purveyor of adult DVDs, and VHS years before, for which Pride Factory won an SFGN Best Of in 2011 and 2012, Deak said he stopped providing those items as the gay community become more accepted and more mainstream.
One thing that hasn’t changed, he said, is listening to customers. “I think Pride Factory is a cornerstone [of the gay community]. We try and stay involved and listen to what they say. We don’t tell them [what to wear].”
Apparently, sexy is what a lot of customers want.
Pride Factory has a large selection of tight, revealing and sexy swimwear. That, said one customer who identified himself as G.R., has a huge appeal to many in the gay community. “You’re not going to find that at Sears,” he said as he pointed to a very colorful and very revealing piece of swimwear.
“It’s sexy clothing,” said customer William Braemer. “I buy in all types of places. I think it’s good to have choices.”
“Sexy does [sell],” Matthew said.