Local News

Word censored on Raleigh salon/bar billboard

Posted June 24, 2009 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated June 24, 2009 6:30 p.m. EDT

— After three years in business, Primp SalonBar has made a name for itself for its spa services and cocktails.

“We call it a lifestyle,” owner Lainie Panos said.

To spread the word about her business, Panos paid for billboards around Raleigh advertising the salon’s “cut, color and cocktails.” Those words were featured on the billboard for nine months, until an officer with the state’s Alcohol Law Enforcement division saw the sign.

Panos said the agent told her the woman and the drink shown on the sign were fine, but the word “cocktails” was a violation of North Carolina law.

ALE agents said businesses with a mixed beverage permit, like Primp, cannot advertise that they sell mixed beverages through the use of billboards or outdoor signs.

“It’s ridiculous,” salon customer Kelly Seymour said. “I mean, what’s the big deal about a cocktail?”

Agents said they were only following the law.

Panos said she simply wasn't aware of the law. She now hides the word with a “censored” sign.

“Put something in hot pink and call it ‘censored’ and it really gets people curious,” Panos said.

Since the sign change, Panos said the salon, located at 401 N. West St., has been getting more phone calls.

“Hopefully, I’ve raised a few eyebrows,” she said.

Panos says the new ad is strictly a marketing campaign and she does not plan to lobby to change any laws.

The ALE said with certain restrictions, businesses can advertise the sale of alcohol through other media like newspapers and radio stations with restrictions.