Lingerie store's signage causes controversy in Manchester - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lingerie store's signage causes controversy in Manchester

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Channel 3 has a look at the storefront of Eleganza Moda that was considered too risque. (WFSB) Channel 3 has a look at the storefront of Eleganza Moda that was considered too risque. (WFSB)

A lingerie store owner in Connecticut said the city’s prudish signage rules are driving him out of business.

Channel 3 has a look at the storefront of Eleganza Moda that was considered too risque.

Mannequins wearing lingerie in the windows of Eleganza Moda could be seen while walking by on Main Street. But that’s not the issue, it’s the signage.

Eleganza Moda opened its doors in Manchester in July and it’s not to be confused with another type of store.  

“It’s crazy, this is not a ‘sexy shop,’” Eleganza Moda co-owner Angela Pascarella said. “This is a store for women that are Elegant.” 

The lingerie shop is owned by Antonio Pascarella and his sister Angela, who was in a similar business in Italy.

“In Italy, you don’t have these kind of problems,” Angela Pascarella said. “Manchester not welcome me.”

The siblings have had issues with the city regarding their signage.

“Before we opened the store we had to agree that the sign would not include the image,” Antonio Pascarella said. “That’s why it’s covered.” 

The image in the upper left of their logo is a woman’s breasts in a bra.

The city was in correspondence with the Pascarella’s citing their need to maintain the unique historic quality of the district.

“Really what they said was that the image can be misleading or confusing,” Antonio Pascarella said. “I’m not sure how you can be misled by that.”

The director of planning and economic development sent a statement to Eyewitness News. 

“One of the things that makes Manchester special is the number and quality of the local businesses we have here.  This is especially true Downtown where we also have guidelines in place to ensure the historic and unique character of the district is maintained as Downtown continues to thrive.  We are very cognizant of ensuring we continue to be a business-friendly community.  Although the owner chose to install a sign without a permit, we spoke with him several times in an effort to come up with a solution that meets his needs and satisfies the Downtown Design Guidelines,” Director of Planning and Economic Development for the town of Manchester Gary A. Anderson said.

Antonio Pascarella appealed his sign to the city based on the guidelines.

“You have to have the business name on your sign,” Antonio Pascarella said. “You have to have clear message, and we have it, and if you use a graphic then it has to portray the nature of the business.” 

Antonio Pascarella said he was denied and said business for Brassieres is passing by. 

 “There’s not much walking traffic, it’s mostly cars driving by, and unless you are Italian you have no idea what I’m selling,” Antonio Pascarella said. “So now you are affecting my bottom line.” 10:30:26

Antonio Pascarella said he thinks “it was more of a personal opinion and not guidelines.”

Channel 3 spoke with some people passing by the store on Wednesday about what they thought of the restrictions.

“I don’t mind it,” Manchester resident Chakira Serrano said. “It’s a bra store so why not have a bra there.”

“I think it’s silly,” Bolton resident Trace Maulucci said. “I can’t understand why they would do something like that.”

The Pascarellas said because their sign is seen on to risqué it’s too much of risk to stick around.

“Next is moving out of Manchester, I think we spent too much time and resources in a town that is not supporting businesses,” Antonio Pascarella said.

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