Community Feature

Gear San Diego: Bringing a safe space to shop for apparel, accessories and more

By Cesar A Reyes

We are always excited to see LGBTQ+ businesses opening in town, and we were very happy when Gear San Diego opened its doors on Washington Avenue. Offering a very unique shopping experience for anyone who is looking to update their fetish wardrobe or want to try something new and sexy for the first time.  We sat with Ken Blochowski, Gear’s Vice President and Marketing Director and Anthony Greika, Shop Manager to talk about the history of the brand expanding from Palm Springs and what the San Diego folks can expect when visiting the shop.

Ken Blochoeski

Please tell us about yourself.

Ken Blochowski is Gear’s Vice President and Marketing Director. He pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, where he earned an honors degree in marketing and consumer behavior. Afterwards, he entered Saks Fifth Avenue’s prestigious Executive Training Program. It was at Saks that he first became a successful merchant, ultimately managing a multi-million-dollar portfolio of prominent luxury brands for the firm.

An accomplished program manager, event producer, graphic designer and publicist, he spent sixteen years in the alumni relations, student affairs and executive education divisions of The University of Michigan. He also earned a Master’s in Public Administration from that institution’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Ken is a longtime LGBT civil rights and HIV/AIDS activist and educator. He discovered his interest in leather, fetish, BDSM and kink soon after becoming sexually active and he’s been a kinkster ever since.

Ken is an alumni member of ICON Detroit, past president of Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert and a founder of the Desert Fetish Authority.

Ken produces events which celebrate fetish play, advocates for sexual freedom, raises funds for charities, and of course, promotes Gear Leather & Fetish. He believes passionately that everyone has the right to lead a creative, adventurous, and deeply fulfilling sexual life.

Tell us about Gear (a little bit of history)?

When we first moved to Palm Springs, there was no store which carried the fetish gear, toys and furniture that we liked to wear and play with. So, in 2005, we opened a showroom to share our passion for great gear with the world. We never set out to carry everything—just the best stuff from the best makers—stuff we and our team really wore and used, so we knew it was good.

We were one of the first fetish stores to open in a beautiful, light-filled environment that was merchandised to look both sexy and stylish, while still being approachable and unintimidating. Eventually those things, plus our outstanding service and great curated collection, earned us widespread customer and industry acclaim. We’re excited to celebrate our 20th year in business next year.

What are you most excited about the new San Diego location?

I’m so excited to bring to San Diego its own version of Gear because so many people have asked for it. Gear San Diego has its own merchandise mix catering to the diverse community which lives here. Of course, it’s always exciting to start something new and to take what you have learned and apply it in a fresh and different way. And it was just really fun to design a new store from the ground up!

I’m also excited to meet new friends and collaborate with other local businesses and organizations to keep our Hillcrest neighborhood, our city and our fetish communities vibrant and progressing.  

What can visitors look forward when visiting the shop?

Gear San Diego is a unique, moody store with a loft-like interior that’s fun to shop and has surprises around every corner. Our great gear, super service and masculine, contemporary environment is unmatched in the area.

Our inventory includes a vast collection of leather and neoprene clothing and accessories, BDSM gear, boots, briefs, jocks, socks, tees, gym wear, toys, and even playroom equipment. Most of the brands we carry can only be found in our store and many of them are never found together except at Gear. We scour the world to find the finest major and artisanal makers so that we can be your one-stop shop for the best gear.

We have a really great team that’s friendly, knowledgeable and part of the local community. They really know about our merchandise and can help size you properly and pick out stuff that’s fun and sexy for you.

We have the largest selection of cockrings, lube and premium toys in San Diego and because of our longstanding relationships with our vendors we can bring them to you at the best prices too.

We’re known for being a Judgment Free Zone. We know that trying out something new can be intimidating, or even scary. Just know that whether you’re curious about a new garment or toy, we’re here to help! We only have one agenda: to help you express yourself and have fun. Gear San Diego is your source for unbiased, judgement-free, sexy shopping.

Oh, and we have free parking too!

Explain the importance of a shop like gear in San Diego?

Until now, guys in San Diego didn’t have a place to shop for fetish gear and toys that catered specifically to them. We’re here, hopefully, to meet that need. 

These days there are fewer and fewer places you can go to touch fetish clothing and try it on, or to check out toys in an up close and personal way.  It’s been too long since San Diego had one of those places and the city deserves one. 

We really believe that whether it’s the stuff you wear to flag your fetish or the toys and equipment you play with, great gear makes sex better. And great sex makes your life better. And that’s what’s really important. 

Anthony Greika

Please tell us about yourself.

I moved to San Diego with my partner at the time and now husband Jesse in 2008. I’ve been working in Adult Retail for the past 15 years. I was Mr. San Diego Leather 2010 and 2nd Runner Up at International Mr. Leather Contest (IML) 2011. I was married on The Grammys in 2014. I am the proud owner of Leather Love SD and Program Director for AFCLG.

Tell us about Gear San Diego.

I think of GEAR San Diego as a Men’s forward fetish, kink clothing store. 

What are you most excited about the new shop?

Bringing something to San Diego I feel has been needed for a long time.         

What can visitors look forward when visiting the shop?

Visitors will be greeted by our friendly and knowledgeable staff when entering. They will find Gear and other items that no other stores in San Diego carry at very reasonable prices. 

Explain the importance of a shop like gear in San Diego?

GEAR Store fills a gap that’s been empty in San Diego for some time. 

How can people connect with Gear San Diego?   (619) 930-7019