Ladies, you’ve heard of Tupperware parties. You’ve probably been to a few. Or perhaps you spent last Friday at your best friend’s house, sipping wine and perusing Pampered Chef products, Lia Sophia jewelry or various kinds of pepper spray.
Yes, you read that correctly. Pepper spray.
The newly-opened Pepper Defense Supply, 485 N. State St., is the place to go if you’re looking to spice up next weekend’s gathering with the girls. Besides stocking its shelves with pepper spray and merchandise ranging from mess kits to window alarms, the store offers classes and parties that teach folks how to use the fiery stuff.
In the three-hour classes, students are taught self defense, how to use pepper spray safely and effectively, as well as how to prevent needing it in the first place. The $60 training sessions can be held wherever you feel comfortable – in a classroom, at your home or at work – and include a complimentary canister to take home.
The parties work much like a Tupperware party would – minus the Tupperware. Storeowner Brian Blackden shows up with a catalogue and a few items to demonstrate how they work. Partygoers are invited to order from the catalogue at a discounted rate. The parties are free – you provide the people. Just like the classes, get-togethers can be held anywhere, and Blackden says he’s willing to travel.
Parties and classes aren’t the only way to learn: Blackden is available at the store to answer questions, too. During a visit last week, he showed us around the small, jam-packed business. In one corner, there’s a rack of camouflage clothing; another, a display case filled with collectable law enforcement badges and pins. At the front of the store, we browsed the security equipment section, which included a door alarm loud enough to make your ears bleed (only a slight exaggeration).
And, of course, Pepper Defense Supply would be nothing without a whole wall dedicated to its namesake. Looking for one to put on your key chain? No problem. The store’s got a range of colors; even a pink one for the ladies. How about one with a Velcro strap to wear on your hand while jogging? That one’s called “The Jogger.”
And don’t let your assailant get away with merely a bad case of irritated eyes: One spray squirts out a blue liquid, leaving your attacker blue-faced and easy to identify by the police.
Yes, Pepper Defense Supply has something for even the most discerning pepper spray aficionado. And starting at $10 a canister, it’s an inexpensive way to protect yourself.
We couldn’t help but wonder though, was an entire store dedicated to the spicy spritzer necessary in lil’ ol’ Concord?
Blackden pointed out that pepper spray doesn’t only come in handy in an urban setting, but could be a hiker’s best bud. The spray can be used on a rabid animal or perhaps a less-than-pleased bear coming your way.
“The biggest thing is, pepper spray isn’t permanent,” Blackden said. “It won’t kill you. It won’t maim you. It’s the safest thing on the market to protect yourself in a lot of different situations.
“Putting more weapons at home is the last thing you want to do,” he added.
Others must agree, because according to Blackden, business has been good so far, despite ongoing North State Street construction. He says top sellers include the sprays and security equipment. He’s already booked parties – one all the way in Manchester.
What draws some in, though, is the booty-short wearin’, camouflage-clad mannequin who stands proudly in front of the store.
There has already been an “incident” between the faux-model and giggly 10-year-old boys, Blackden told us with a laugh. We’ll admit, the mannequin is how we first noticed the store. You got to look at something while stuck in that traffic.
Whether it’s the mannequin or just a general curiosity about pepper spray that brings you to the store, Blackden’s there to answer any questions. He won’t bite. He may spray – but only if you deserve it.
Find them at: 485 N. State St.
On the web: pepperdefensesupply.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.