One step into Metro News, and you would think there was a new department store downtown—one for the GLBT community.

The creative director, Carmelo Roman, has brought new spirit into the bookstore and made the downstairs a complete GLBT haven.

The complete redesign and upgrade got rid of any old vestiges of a stereotypical adult bookstore’s looks.

The “OZ” theme, “Out of The Woods,” will be evident soon as Roman continues to renovate the 5,000 square feet of gay-oriented literature and “noveltoys” into a friendly hang out. The layout adds a coffee shop setup with tables and chairs, a pool table (free) and other games.

Soon to be added to Dorothy’s side of the woods are a cyber café with Internet connections, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks and video games on HD big-screen TVs.

More adult product lines will be added which include Adam & Eve, California Exotic, Doc Johnson and Male Power. There is a selection of pride items, clothing, leather, stickers and a large selection of cards.

Many of LOGO's productions will be for sale. And, of course, the usual products of magazines, movies and, as Carmelo likes to say, “noveltoys” — products to enhance your sex life with a little fantasy mixed in—are in stock.

At this time, they are only selling videos, but they would like to change that to include a rental program in the near future.

In addition to the changes indoors, there’s new paint and neon signage outside. All “darkness” will disappear as fresh ideas take form. A guard shack will be added for nighttime security as well as added surveillance cameras and lights. The former alley walls are free of graffiti, and their neighbors have agreed to ensure they stay that way. The bookstore also owns the two empty retail spaces next door. As they expand, they would like to add a gym and move their offices to these locations.

Metro News has been a downtown fixture since 1991 at 822 5th Ave. S. Manager Tommy Milsap bought the business two years ago, brought on business partner Billy Johnson and most recently added Roman. Outside of Nashville, they have locations in Bucksnort, Elkton, Jackson and two in Chattanooga. Roman will soon be adding his charm to these other stores.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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