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Secrets Opens Under City Council’s Nose

Vacaville, California- An adult chain store, under the noses of the Vacaville City Council, swung open its doors Friday night.

The council attempted to approve an emergency moratorium regarding the approval of adult businesses in the city, but Secrets, a new so-called lingerie store opened in the nick of time – just before the council meeting started and before the unanimous decision from the council in favor of a moratorium.

A “Now Opened” sign is emblazoned across the old WW Outfitters building, next to Murillo’s Mexican Food Restaurant on East Monte Vista Avenue.

Although the council did not approve the business to occupy the building, provisions in the city’s zoning ordinance limiting locations for that type of business allow it.

The council was anything but pleased with the outcome.

“I’m going to limit my comments until we can study this further,” said Mayor Len Augustine. “We need to figure out what really happened.”

According to Vacaville’s city attorney, Gerald Hobrecht, the city cannot prohibit the establishment of an adult store, but can, however, restrict the location. For example, if that type of business were next to a church or school.

Hobrecht explained that the property is owned by the Murillo family and that that particular building was leased to the Blackburn family, owners of WW Outfitters.

Apparently, the Blackburns, who had closed their business, had in turn subleased the empty building to the owners of Secrets, according to Hobrecht. According to a sublease agreement, Secrets could occupy that building until 2013.

The Murillo family is not excited to have Secrets as a next door neighbor and said that a new sign advertising the business on the highway was put up illegally.

“It’s bad enough that we have to put up with them, but they didn’t put up the sign legally,” said Danny Murillo, a son of the property owner. “They have no permits for the sign, so if they were fined we would get blamed for it.”

Murillo was seen Friday night climbing ladders to take down the sign that faces the highway.

Tuesday night and Friday night, several Vacaville residents voiced concerns about having an “adult” store in such a high-profile and family-friendly area.

Secrets’ District Manager Jim Lukes said that although the Vacaville store is part of the Secrets chain, it will not be an “adult” store, but rather a business catered to lingerie, but one that also sells DVDs and adult toys in a secluded area.

“We could be called a lingerie super store,” Lukes said. “We primarily sell lingerie, massage oils and aromatherapy products.”

Lukes does agree that the Secrets in Fairfield and Vallejo are adult stores, but that Secrets in Vacaville will not be the same.

“The reality is we’re not adult,” he said. “We’re different than those other stores.”

Lukes said he is aware of the outcry from Vacaville residents and encourages the public to come and take a look inside the business.

“Come in, take a look at us and see that we’re a romantic boutique,” he said. “Make your own decisions.”

Vacaville residents, however, don’t agree.

“I’m totally disgusted,” said resident Julie Swingle after Friday’s meeting. “This should be way out, not next to the Nut Tree Family Park.”

Resident David Jackson agreed.

“I ask that we keep Secrets a secret,” he said.

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