Culture Shock’s Mill Street location is in jeopardy due to code regulations by Nevada County Environmental Health, which is enforcing a requirement that the location offer a restroom facility.
According to Health and Safety Code section 11276b, a permanent food facility must provide clean toilet facilities in good repair for consumers, guests or invitees when there is on-site consumption of food.
Culture Shock owner Bobbi Guidicelli said she is frustrated by the requirement because 85 percent of her customers take their yogurt to go, and she is in a historic building in downtown Grass Valley that cannot provide a restroom for customers.
Guidicelli has a restroom for employees, but because you have to walk through the food preparation area to access it, customers cannot use it, according to health code 114276 section 2, which states that toilet facilities must be situated so patrons do not pass through food preparation, food storage or utensil washing areas.
Culture Shock has until Sept. 30 to comply with regulations to either share a restroom with a nearby business, create a partition so the restroom area is separate from the food service area or remove all the tables and chairs. Guidicelli said the first two options are not feasible, as she does not want to burden nearby businesses with her customers, and the food service area is too small to allow for a partition.
“I appreciate that they’re trying to do something, but they’re coming up with unrealistic things,” she said. “Putting up partitions or going to neighbors is not going to work.”
Though a majority of customers take their yogurt to go, those who may stop coming because they can’t sit down will negatively affect the business, Guidicelli said.
“Mill Street is my slowest shop,” she said. “If one out of 10 customers who normally comes, stops, that’s 10 percent off my bottom line. That puts me in the red.”
If the shop closes, she will no longer be able to provide the workplace and income for her employees, all of whom are students.
“I don’t think I employ a single person whose money isn’t to support their family or go to school,” Guidicelli said. “I know for a fact, I have two or three employees whose parents are on Welfare. I have one employee whose mother just filed for food stamps because her stepfather walked out. She’s always said to please give her as many hours as possible. This is not about feeling like I’m going to lose customers. The impact will be far-reaching.”
Guidicelli operates three Culture Shock facilities, two in Grass Valley and one in Auburn, as well as a packing plant that ships orders to schools and local grocery stores.
The Nevada County businesses support the city and downtown Grass Valley with the taxes and fees she pays, and if the Mill Street location closes, those agencies would not receive as many funds, she said.
“I pay the health department over $1,000 a year. I pay the downtown association hundreds and hundreds and the city of Grass Valley for my business license over $1,000 a year,” she said.
“We’re one of the most popular places for retail in downtown and in Grass Valley in general. Customers are going to be more upset if Culture Shock has to close than not having a restroom.”
The Brunswick Culture Shock location will provide restroom access as of Oct. 1, Guidicelli said, adding that the Auburn location has a sign indicating there is no restroom, which the Placer County health department allowed.
Interim Director of Environmental Health Daniel Chatigny said Culture Shock received a complaint from a customer that no restroom facility was available in the Mill Street location and that Culture Shock’s initial permit held that the facility was to-go only.
“The intent there when the permit was issued was that they were not having on-site consumption, and since that was not the current situation, that’s why we’re responding with this code section and giving them a couple different options,” he said.
Culture Shock’s Mill Street location has until Sept. 30 to remove the tables and chairs or find an alternative solution.
For information, visit Culture Shock’s Facebook page at https://facebook.com/pages/Culture-Shock-Yogurt/366834703625 or contact Culture Shock at email@example.com or Nevada County health inspector Randall Yun at 530-265-1449.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.