Opponents of bikini coffee shop plan launch Change.org petition

Opponents of bikini coffee shop plan launch Change.org petition, schedule march

in Business/Community/Featured/Headline and

Opponents of a proposal to open a bikini coffee shop in the North Fair Oaks neighborhood have launched a Change.org petition that garnered nearly 500 signatures in three days.

Also, an opposition march has been planned for Friday, Sept. 14, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Siena Youth Center in Redwood City.

As we’ve reported, Pink Pantherz Espresso, a small coffee shop chain where baristas wear bikinis and some menu items have sexually suggestive names, has expressed interest in opening a new location at 2797 El Camino Real, the space formerly occupied by Caffino. Pink Pantherz also has locations in Fremont, Modesto, and Fresno.

Community members opposing the proposal, including Sister Heltsley of St. Francis Center, say kids pass that location twice daily on their way to Selby Lane, the local public school. Their petition urges the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to prevent what opponents called a “trashy business” from moving in and promises future marches and letter writing campaigns.

“The new owner proposes to employ very scantly dressed young women in the drive thru who will serve coffee drinks with suggestive names such as Bootycall, Birthday Sex, and Panty Dropper,” the petition states, adding the “Pink Pantherz objectifies and reinforces inappropriate stereotypes of women.”

News of the petition led to a lengthy dialogue on social media, including on the issue of feminism. Those opposing the petition said opponents of the bikini coffee shop are being prude.

“As long as it’s kept safe, inclusive and non discriminatory for the women applying/working there, it shouldn’t be a problem to let the business have a fair chance.,” said one commenter on the Facebook group, “Redwood City Residents Say: What?”

Another stated, “Throw a pool out front and no one will complain.”

As stated in our most recent report, the county was reviewing the business owner’s application, which includes looking into whether employee attire at Pink Pantherz’ proposed location should be deemed adult entertainment, which is not zoned for that location.

“Planning Director Steve Monowitz has informed the owner that to comply with zoning code, employee dress must completely cover their bottoms from a point below the buttocks and their entire breasts from a point immediately above the areola. If and when the business does open, the County will work closely with the owner to ensure compliance. Failure to do so will be a code violation.”

The site at 2797 El Camino Real appears to be owned by members of the Hiller family, best known for their display of aircraft and helicopters at the Hiller Aviation Museum. The family has not returned calls for comment.