FULLERTON : That Eclectic Look Is Lost on Officials

A store that sells glow-in-the-dark plastic insects, African tribal masks and avant-garde clothing needs an eclectic look.

At least that's what its owner, Theresa Wright, says. And that is precisely what has got her into trouble with the city.

Unfortunately, Wright said, the murals on the front of her Harbor Boulevard store don't fit with the downtown design scheme envisioned by Fullerton officials. City officials have asked her and the building's owners to cover the murals with peach-colored paint to blend in with the rest of the building.

Although redevelopment officials have said the murals must go, Wright, 23, will ask the city's Redevelopment Design Review Committee next week to let her keep them. If the committee turns her down, she vows to appeal her case to the City Council.

Wright said she worked three jobs to save the money needed to open the store, called Get Lost, last July and still works nights as a waitress to keep it going.

The city wants Wright to remove the mural because a $15,000 building rehabilitation loan from the city calls for the building to be painted one color, Redevelopment Agency manager Terry Galvin said Tuesday.

"It's our position that the tenant needs to do what the owner agreed to," Galvin said.

The building is in a downtown redevelopment project area that the city is trying to rehabilitate with a 1920s- and 1930s-era look. The old Fox Fullerton Theatre, which is under renovation, is cater-cornered from Wright's store.

The owners of the building, Fullerton business owners Geni and Anthony Ugolini, said they are trying to stay out of the dispute.

"If we had seen (Wright's murals) on paper beforehand, we wouldn't have allowed it--not at all," Geni Ugolini said.

Wright said she will abide by the city's wishes if she exhausts her appeals. But part of the appeals process might involve taking the city to court, she said.

It was the freedom to decorate the store as she wished that attracted her to Fullerton, Wright said.

"That's what the beauty of this city is," she said. "I could never go to Irvine and open a store like Get Lost."

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