John Cornetta, owner of The Love Shack, reads the blogs. He also emails certain blog writers. Mr. Cornetta took exception with my description of him as a "skeevy looking dude". I apologized for going for the sensational description and he told me that an apology wasn't necessary. What followed was a pleasant email exchange that resulted in him agreeing to an interview. The only pre-condition was that I would publish his responses unedited. Mr. Cornetta has a contempt hearing in Fulton County court on Tuesday. I hope incarceration will not hinder the conclusion of this exclusive exchange.
griftdrift: Why did you move from Boca Raton to Atlanta?
John Cornetta: Actually my path was a little different than that. I was born and raised in Piermont New York on the Hudson river just outside the city. Hunt this down but I saw some where that Mike Bodker (gd: mayor of Johns Creek) was born in Suffern N.Y. in 1965, that would make him one year younger then me and we would both have been born not only in the same county in New York, but at the same hospital in Nyack New York. Funny how the world is hey? Anyway, I moved back and forth between Boca Raton and NY from age 13 to about 20 or so, then stayed in South Florida until February 1990 at which time I moved to Atlanta. I came here to visit a sister who lived here with her boyfriend ( now husband of 13 years or so ). We had just sold a bar we operated in South Florida, we had a friend who put on lingerie fashion shows at our place two or three times a week. He made a lot of money, hung out with beautiful women..... It was a no brainer what I would do next. I was a trained professional chef. Worked with the best in the world. I turned down three full scholarship to the culinary art institute of my choice... I had had enough of food and beverage... So anyway, back here to Atlanta. No one was doing the shows, so I said, hey I'll move up here and try it. I had about $700 to my name, 100 pieces of lingerie and a car that would be taken back by the bank two months later. I was broke. I rented a town home in Dunwoody and started my business out of the town home. Called it Simply Irresistible Lingerie. Within in weeks I had competition, yet I managed to put them out of business and build that from 1990 to 1993 to doing more then 125 shows per WEEK and had about 25 models working for me. I am making this out to seem easy but if I had the time, these three years are enough for five movies. I slept on the floor, lost cars and the town home, took showers or a bath maybe once a week during portions of this period. I had high highs and some very low lows.
But oh what a life for a young man. Money started flowing in, beautiful women and I started meeting all the heavy weights in Atlanta. In fact they started to become my friends. Life long friends. We're talking guys in their late 50's and 60's befriending me and taking me under their wings. Guys like Johnny Espizito from Johnny's Hideaway. Bill Davidson from The Derby's. Ron Lombardi from Rascals, Ron Holcomb who owned Spinners and many others. But these guys, and Ron Holcomb and Bill Davidson may they, R.I.P., mentored me and took me in. Especially Mr. Lombardi and Mr. Davidson. They took me around. They helped pave my way in to a tight little circle of friends that ran all the watering holes back then. So that's how I came to and stayed in Atlanta...
griftdrift: How did you get started in the adult "novelty" business?
John Cornetta: Well, later I started doing shows in Charlotte N.C. and there I had little more money so I put some of the lingerie on display in a little store front. Next thing you know your adding a pair of dice, then a board game for adults. Then someone asks you can you get this and that. The rest is history really. But, the details, well some of them are that in 1993 a friend of mine from down in Florida, Bob Newman and I get together and he tells me he has started this magazine called Florida Xcitement and that I should do one in Atlanta. So I paid him some money and I started Atlanta Xcitement which I still own to this day. I sold the lingerie company about two years ago, I had that for about 14 years. Xcitement Magazine today prints and distributes free about 30,000 copies per month in adult clubs stores etc. See http://www.xcitementatlanta.com/ if you want more information. Then through that I made a lot more friends and mentors etc, and I met a guy named Tom Gardner who owned a store in Gwinnett on Jimmy Carter, actually the only adult store in Gwinnett at the time. He called it Illusions. He wanted to sell, I bought it, changed the name to Love Shack and that became the first one.
To Be Continued
Photo: Atlanta Journal Constitution