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Opening Of adult business causing stir in Rocky Mount

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — There is a row of businesses on Highway 301 in Rocky Mount. One business causing a stir is called the Back Room.

It hasn't opened yet. But the place already has a history.

People once went there to pray. The Back Room used to be a church.

Soon, people will go there to play. The Back Room will be selling and renting adult movies.

"These particular types of businesses don't bring any redeeming quality to a city," said Rich Cheney, owner of a neighboring business.

The front room of the Back Room is filled with video racks. According to owner Chris Peacock, every one of the movies on the racks will be rated X.

Peacock has completed all the paperwork. He's just waiting for the city's O.K. to open.

"I'm not doing anything that the city of Rocky Mount doesn't allow," Peacock said.

The city has to allow equal rights.

"He may have rights," Cheney said. "But I'd just as soon it not open up in this community."

Neighbors fear the stigma of the place - and how to explain it.

"My location is two doors down from the porn shop," said business owner Christopher Sandy. "You've got children walking by, saying: 'Hey, Dad, what's in there? Well, Son, I can't tell you about that right now.'"

Neighbors vow to stop the Back Room. The owners are united, believe in God and country.

Peacock said, like many of his neighbors, he goes to church.

"How can you pay tithes on Sunday if you're not bringing in any money?" he said.

The question was posed in used to be a place of faith, soon to be a place of fun.

"I just wish the church was still there," Sandy said. "It shows that it's a short trip from Heaven to Hell."

That comment brought a laugh from Peacock.

"That's pretty good," he said. "I like that one."

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