In 2019, the City of Grover Beach passed an ordinance that prohibits any kind of sign or mascot on the public right of way. One local business owner is not happy about the recent reinforcement.
Tony Warrino says that in his 20 years of owning Games Exchange in Grover Beach, he has never been approached about this issue before.
“They told me I can’t have my Pikachu standing on the sidewalk,” Warrino said.
According to Warrino, the city gave him a pamphlet with information about the ordinance.
He feels it's unfair because the mascot helps his business and makes people smile.
Games Exchange employee Spencr Peralta dresses up as Pikachu and says he likes seeing people's reactions.
“So many times there will be kids walking with their parents asking to get a photo. It is really heartwarming and sometimes a kid will even ask for a little hug which always brightens my day,” Peralta said.
According to Megan Martin, City of Grover Beach Community Development Director, mascots and what their ordinance defines as "people signs" are prohibited in the public right of way.
“In 2019, our sign ordinance was updated and it was to help reflect what our local businesses' needs were related to our creative advertising,” Martin said.
Martin says that they are supportive of businesses showing creativity; however, it must be done directly on their private property or storefront.
The City of Grover Beach wants to emphasize that this in no way prohibits a person from protesting in the public right of way.