Closed San Mateo spa gets new owners
The owners of a beauty supply store are taking over the space previously occupied by an spa that closed in October.
Mostafa Karim and his wife, Monir Zarrin, have leased the two-level Third Avenue facility that was home to the Sandra Caron European Spa until its closure. The couple, who own the California Beauty Center, decided to take over the space after losing their lease on Fourth Avenue at the end of December.
They plan to start selling beauty products by the middle of next week and hope to offer spa services before Valentine’s Day, Karim said. Those services will include massages, facials, waxings, mud and foil wraps, as well as access to a steam room and sauna.
Karim and Zarrin took over all of the equipment and merchandise left at the spa, including massage tables, washers and dryers, facial creams and an assortment of dancing gnomes and Betty Boop dolls.
Sandra Caron closed its doors after failing to make its October rent, and employees say they weren’t paid or given notice.
The state Department of Industrial Relations said last month that two former employees filed claims against the spa for unpaid wages. One is for three months’ work valued at $6,000, and another is for $270, the department said. Former clients have also complained to the San Mateo Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown San Mateo Association about unredeemed gift certificates.
Karim said he plans to offer former Sandra Caron customers gift
certificates and significant discounts on spa treatments. He will probably give those who don’t want services some of the closed spa’s merchandise.
“We know that people are kind of pissed off,” Karim said. “They took money — it wasn’t so pleasant. We’re trying to bring a different image.”
Karim noted that his relatives were members of a massage membership program at Sandra Caron and lost $700 when the spa closed.
Six women filed lawsuits last month accusing a masseur who worked at the Sandra Caron spa of inappropriate touching during massages. The spa settled a previous civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff accused masseur Kevin Bradshaw of touching her breasts and pubic region without consent during a May 2007 massage, for $500,000.
Bradshaw was sentenced to one year in San Mateo County jail for that crime and for inappropriately touching a second woman at Massage Envy in San Mateo.
Karim said he will take the time to review candidates’ applications carefully before making hiring decisions to avoid similar problems. “We are going to screen them,” he said.
“That’s why we don’t want to rush things to open. We have an obligation to the landlord and the public, so we want to do it right.”