San Jose

Hustler Plans to Open Retail Store in San Jose

Some Burbank and Rose Garden residents in San Jose are concerned a new store may bring more unsavory elements to an already struggling retail corner.

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt wants to open his 20th Hollywood Hustler store in the U.S. at the corner of San Carlos Street and Bascom Avenue in San Jose. Representatives with Larry Flynt Publications say the company plans to pour $1 million into renovating the old Bank of the West building and transform it into a luxury lingerie and sensual care store.

"I think of sex and people going there looking for sex," Tracey Bugnatto said when she heard Hustler was moving in around the corner from her and her 10-year-old daughter.

"I don’t want her going to that store. There’s already a few of those over there," Bugnatto said, referring to adult entertainment stores across the street from where the new Hustler store would go.

The owners of the all-nude Pink Poodle club are not excited about the competition either and question the legality of another adult store moving close to homes.

"But I guess if you’re Larry Flynt and you have a million dollars to spend on a renovation, the city will bend the rules a little and go around the bush if they have to," Peter Kuzinich Jr. said, explaining his father started the Pink Poodle in 1971.

City Hall says there is no truth to that, and there’s not much council members can do to stop Hustler from moving in.

"If you’re selling high heel shoes and DVDs, that’s considered merchandise or retail. We don’t regulate that," said Pierluigi Oliverio, city councilman for the area Hustler is interested in.

But some other businesses in the area welcome a new neighbor, as several buildings nearby have been vacant for years.

"It’s been kind of rough. There’s been an extreme homeless problem," said Charlene Schaupp, manager of Alex’s 49er Inn, a bar next door to the former bank building. She says the arrival of Hustler could help nearby businesses.

"Just more traffic to the area. A lot of people don’t know the bar is here, so I think it’ll bring a lot of attention to the neighborhood," Schaupp said.

Hustler representatives declined interviews until closer to the store opening but did say they are hoping the store will help revitalize the struggling area.

They hope to have a grand opening in October.

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