Salon protest does not cut it


    By Markus Mann

    A rumored bikini protest at City Council meeting turned out to be anything but a splash in Provo.

    Bikini Cuts, where hairstylists give patrons a hairstyle while dressed in normal beach attire for the price of $25 a head, is setting its sights on Utah County sites.

    The salons? dress code has turned heads since opening in 2003 and has been successful enough in its two existing Utah locations, West Jordan and Sandy, to double in expansion, with plans for Salt Lake City as well as Provo/Orem.

    Dave Politis, president of Politis Communications who is representing Bikini Cuts, said the salon is doing everything it possibly can to make the transition into the valley easily.

    ?Because of the experience they?d have in the past, they know that if they can smooth things over with the city in the beginning, they can remove some of the opposition,? he said before the meeting Tuesday night.

    If efforts to do some ?smoothing over,? after the mayor?s office remained unresponsive, Politis and Bikini Cuts employees brought their case to the Provo City Council meeting. While their attire in the salon may be a bit risqu?, the four hairstylists wore T-shirts, and were modestly dressed during the presentation to the council.

    The presentation was made during the public comment portion of the meeting, and was not a regular agenda item.

    During last night?s Provo City Municipal Council meeting, Bikini Cuts brought their message of fun-loving and professional haircutting direct to the Provo City Mayor and the city?s Municipal Council members.

    Although the local media and the city council expected a horde of protesters at the meeting, they instead got simple solemn pleas for and against.

    Mike Fuller, cofounder of Bikini Cuts, said he came to let the city know what they are all about.

    ?We are not here to offend anyone or to bother anyone,? Fuller said. ?We just want a good transition.?

    A mother also addressed the city council pleading for them to prevent Bikini Cuts coming to Provo or to at least limit Bikini Cuts? activities.

    ?I request that Bikini Cuts provide their services fully clothed in order to preserve, maintain and protect the innocence of our children and teenagers,? she said said.

    Micki Grant was also against Bikini Cuts. Grant said the council should respect the community standard and protect the children.

    ?Children should be protected to over explicit media,? Grant said.

    As Fuller made his plea on behalf of Bikini Cuts, the council gave no indication hear it at the next scheduled meeting. The only responses from the city council were a thank you and a blank stare.

    The salon faced controversy and negative public outcry when it opened its doors in Sandy, causing the city to tighten business ordinances. The same response is expected in the Provo/Orem area.

    ?People have already called to voice their concern,? said Aaron Lyman, a business license specialist in Orem. ?But if they [Bikini Cuts] apply and abide by the ordinances, legally than no one can deny them.?

    While the city cannot deny a business operating within legal boundaries, landlords have the authority to deny a request for a location. For this reason, Bikini Cuts has not revealed the possible spot for their newest salon to avoid threats directed toward potential landlords.

    The threats have been severe enough, since the first store opened in 2003, for landlords to give a no-go on expansion plans in both Sugar House and Murray.

    Bethany Prince, Bikini Cuts? president, expects more debate as she goes forward with her plans.

    “In spite of some initial controversy about our fun and relaxing format, d?cor and uniform style, we are convinced it”s time to move forward with our expansion plans,” said Prince. “Salt Lake City is an obvious choice for a new Bikini Cuts salon. And although we”ve had some reservations about moving into the Orem/Provo area, we”re also convinced we can be quite successful with a location based in the heart of what is affectionately known in Utah as ”Happy Valley.””

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