BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
For those wanting to buy a “Pantydropper” at the Pink Pantherz bikini coffee shop when it opens on Friday (Sept. 14), they will have to make do with ordering an “Aloha” instead.
Owner of Pink Pantherz Jose Carmona said yesterday (Sept. 12) that he’s toned down some of the more suggestive drink names, and may be making changes to the barista’s uniforms for the shop at 2797 El Camino Real in North Fair Oaks.
“We’re changing some things, but we will still be a bikini barista coffee shop,” Carmona said. “But we are making some changes so we won’t be considered adult entertainment. We haven’t defined what the uniforms will look like yet, but we’re working on it.”
San Mateo County Planning Director Steve Monowitz sent Carmona a letter laying out a set of clothing regulations for the business, saying that the women’s bikinis must completely cover their bottoms and breasts.
If the coffee shop’s employees wore anything less than what’s required, Pink Pantherz would be considered an “adult entertainment business” under the county code, and such businesses are not allowed in that area. (The Hanky Panky strip club, 2651 El Camino in North Fair Oaks, existed before the regulations and was grandfathered in.)
The uniforms of Pink Pantherz employees sparked an outcry from North Fair Oaks residents who have been sending Carmona and the county letters regarding their disgust with the shop.
“I think the disadvantage is that we are new to the community, and they don’t know what we are about,” Carmona said. “We may be pushing the envelope a little but at the end of the day it allows us to sponsor events like raising money for cancer.”
Carmona said Pink Pantherz has sponsored events to raise money for people with cancer in the communities in Fresno, Modesto and Fremont, where his other coffee stands are located.
Sister Christina Heltsley, executive director of the St. Francis Center down the street from the coffee shop, said yesterday she’s thrilled by his concessions. Heltsley led the outreach campaign to Carmona.
“Changing the coffee names to just regular coffee names … and having the workers not being so scantily clad I think are serious concessions,” Heltsley said. “I feel like he has heard the community.”
March is still on
But despite the changes, Heltsley said neighbors of the shop are still planning a march against the coffee shop for Friday. However, while the shop will be open from noon to 4 p.m. on Friday, the protest will happen at 5:30 p.m.
The protest will happen after the shop closes so the baristas do not feel uncomfortable or shamed, Heltsley said. She also said hopefully the march will be more of a “victory march” for the community because of the changes.
While residents are hopeful, county spokeswoman Michelle Durand said the county is not going to assume the issue regarding the barista’s uniforms is resolved until Monowitz’ department is able to “confirm how the business is actually being operated.
“But it certainly is a positive step,” Durand said.