During the fall of 2003, an idea was born... How’s about opening a sex-positive sex toy store in Milwaukee with a comfortable atmosphere? The gals that opened the Tool Shed felt that Milwaukee was in desperate need of a place that not only epitomized their beliefs about what a sex-positive, gender-positive, healthy and inviting sex toy store should be, but they also really wanted to educate and empower people by breaking taboos around talking honestly about sex and sexuality.
In July of 2008, the reins of the Tool Shed were passed to Laura Anne Haave. Laura has been a sexuality educator, sexual violence survivor advocate, and LGBTQA activist for more than fifteen years. She has a master’s degree in health behavior and health education. In addition to her work at the Tool Shed, Laura is a teacher, trainer, and curriculum developer for Our Whole Lives (OWL), a comprehensive sexuality education curricula. She also authored a weekly a sex advice column called "Sexpress" for Milwaukee’s local free weekly paper, the Shepherd Express, for five years.
The Tool Shed, located on Milwaukee's East Side, is Milwaukee’s only mission-driven, education-based sex toy store.
The Tool Shed is a place where people of all genders and sexual orientations can explore their sexuality in a positive environment and be treated with respect by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. More than your typical adult store, our mission is to provide quality, body-safe products that enhance the sexual lives and relationships of our customers, while also offering accurate and affirming sexuality education in a comfortable, compassionate, and welcoming atmosphere.
While it is true that elements of sex and sexuality permeate our culture, spaces for learning about sex in a shame-free, positive environment are few and far between. Though sex and intimate relationships usually play a major role in our lives, most of us experience little formal education about our bodies, sexual pleasure, or relationship models. We believe there is a need for accurate, comprehensive sexuality education in order to promote sexual health and wellness for everyone.
Our store is staffed by trained sexuality educators. Everyone who works at the Tool Shed receives comprehensive, ongoing training so that they can offer an open, non-judgmental approach to sex to anyone who visits our store. We take education and providing a safe space very seriously. Our staff knows a lot about the toys and equipment we sell, and we frequently offer workshops and other events where our customers can learn more about a variety of sexuality and relationship topics. The Tool Shed is frequently invited to speak at outside venues such as colleges and community groups who want to provide sexuality education to their members.
The Tool Shed strives to sell sex toys that are made of body-safe, quality materials. This can be a challenge, since the adult toy industry is largely unregulated. There are no rules about what sex toys can or cannot be made of, and there are very few product labeling requirements, meaning that products can, and often are, mislabeled as to their material components. While the industry is beginning to change for the better in terms of awareness around these issues, the vast majority of sex toys still continue to be made from low-quality, sometimes toxic materials. Some sex toys are known to leach chemicals into the body of the user, causing problems like burning, itching, swelling, rashes, and possibly even endocrine disruption in some cases.
Compounding this problem is the fact that there are a growing number of counterfeit products entering the market. Counterfeit products may advertise themselves using well-known brand names or photos of reputable products, but they are often reproductions made of inferior materials using shoddy manufacturing processes.
To combat these problems, the Tool Shed seeks out quality, body-safe products from reputable sources and manufacturers. There is a small but growing number of manufacturers who have made a commitment to body safety, accurate labeling, and conscious sex toy design, and we actively pursue and cultivate relationships with such partners. We are a member of the Coalition Against Toxic Toys (CATT), and we educate our consumers about sex toy materials every day in our store.
We will be closed on the following holidays: Independence Day (July 4), Thanksgiving (November 27), Christmas (December 25), New Year's Day (January 1). We typically close a few hours early on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve-- please call ahead!
The Tool Shed is located at 2427 N. Murray Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (map here). We are a block and a half north of North Avenue on the east side of the Milwaukee River (near such landmarks as the Oriental Theater, Beans and Barley, and Columbia St. Mary's Hospital).
The Tool Shed is part of Milwaukee's vibrant East Side, a neighborhood located just north of Downtown, bordered on the west by the Milwaukee River and on the east by Lake Michigan. The East Side is home to plenty of fantastic restaurants and bars, as well as a unique mix of shopping and entertainment. The immediate proximity to the lakeshore and to the bicycle and walking paths along the river offers the best of the outdoors in the city as well!
Parking at the Tool Shed is a breeze! Tool Shed customers may use the free parking lot directly across the street from our store during the time they are shopping or attending an event at the store. If there is a heavy snowfall that day, customers may need to move their cars to allow for the lot to be plowed. There is also free on-street parking in front of our store with a 3 hour limit.
To find additional parking on the East Side, check theEastSide.org's parking page.
To reach the Tool Shed by city bus
A number of Milwaukee County Transit buses routes stop within a few short blocks of the Tool Shed, including the Green Line, route 21, and route 30, all of which have stops on North Avenue. To find the best route from your location, use the trip planner feature on the front page of the MCTS web site.
To reach the Tool Shed by car, from North of Milwaukee
To reach the Tool Shed by car, from South of Milwaukee
To reach the Tool Shed by car, from West of Milwaukee
Any questions? Please feel free to call us at 414-906-5304, or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.