Low finance: Sexy shoe-shiners hit Wall Street

By building a brand around tank tops and short shorts, Star Shine NYC's owners are reveling in a revealing business trend.

By Jason Notte Apr 12, 2013 10:43AM
The Star Shine Ladies ( Star Shine)Boy, has it been a busy month for mammary-minded American consumers.


First, Hooters started toning down its image to appeal to more women. Then the wings-and-tight-shirts restaurant chain slid away from that stance after being sued by a waitress who claims she was fired for not wearing a wig over a surgical scar.


Then, Texas-based Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill trademarked the term "breastaurant" after similarly themed establishments like the Tilted Kilt, Mugs N Jugs and Twin Peaks considered that descriptor too vulgar for their blushingly modest tastes.


Now, Star Shine NYC is bringing tank tops and tiny shorts to Manhattan's financial district in the shoe-polishing world's answer to a bikini car wash. According to DNAinfo, co-owner Kevin White Jr. and his father came up with the plan for an "upscale" shoe-shine spot run by attractive women while working in finance downtown and commuting home to Queens.


The small shop between Exchange Place and Beaver Street is furnished with leather chairs and flat-screen TVs, and White has plans to bring in beer and wine. A regular shine costs $7, but there's a $4 early-bird special before 11 a.m.


A few random observations: 1. There's a certain Lower Manhattan subculture that believes the more low-cut or nonexistent a woman's top is, the more "upscale" the establishment is. 2. Don't give White a hard time about sexism or objectification of women at his shoe-shine stand. After all, he says, "even my sister, a college student, is working there." 3. Yes, Star Shine does on-premises calls for groups of 10 or more.


So, how much is sex actually selling these days? While there's no point of comparison for scantily clad shoe-shiners, food industry research firm Technomic found that the top three "breastaurant" chains behind Hooters saw sales climb 30% in 2011. Hooters' sales, however, plateaued at $1 billion in 2007 before falling to $850 million last year.


Remove the slightly dressed ladies from that equation, though, and you basically have Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), which has expanded from 340 to more than 500 restaurants nationwide since 2008 and saw same-store sales jump 6.6% last year alone. In a casual-dining market that has been in steady decline since the recession, Buffalo Wild Wings has thrived because of what's on its plates, in its glasses and on its TVs -- not what's stuffed into its uniforms.


That doesn't mean breastploitation companies like this cropped-top shoe-shine stand won't find success, but the business of American ogling tends to be cyclical. Judging by the events of the past month, leering hasn't been this lucrative since lads' mags like Maxim and FHM peaked nearly a decade ago.


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17Comments
Apr 12, 2013 1:50PM
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Watch out for the Mayor, I just know this is a health issue, really for the kids
Apr 12, 2013 2:28PM
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And for a little extra, they'll buff more than your shoes.

Apr 12, 2013 1:23PM
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The parts of capitalism that I like are being emphasised. Thanks.
Apr 12, 2013 1:19PM
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Men are boobs...oops, sorry, meant to say... Men like boobs.
Apr 12, 2013 2:10PM
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Shining the phallus's of banking will let ladies who can't find a meaningful paying job in this crap economy be able to bank some serious coin. Since finance and business work is ultra boring to the point they love to threaten to bring the world to it's knees through manipulation of markets, maybe a healthy form of entertainment will woo them into doing good things for us such as investing in America to put their own country back on track to a successful healthy broad middle class flourishing once again. Dreaming of a miracle...
Apr 12, 2013 2:52PM
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So can a man with boobs apply for a job with them and then sue if he is not hired........ juss axin a quershtin (sic).
Apr 12, 2013 4:15PM
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between Exchange Place and Beaver Street

 

what a coincidence

Apr 12, 2013 3:12PM
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The gals would really do great if they put their name upside down on the back of their neck.  A fake tat of course.
Apr 12, 2013 7:39PM
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Have you looked at their outfits? You see far more in a yoga or dance class. Much ado about nothing.
Apr 12, 2013 8:20PM
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I applaud their business model because it is based on an instinct within the human male that is very difficult to resist, the urge to ogle a pretty girl and get a free look down her top. I wonder how many guys wearing sandals will just pay the 4 or 7 bucks just to sit in the chair and check out the goods, probably the same number as the guys who say they go to Hooters for the food or read Playboy for the articles..
Apr 12, 2013 4:47PM
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I hope Wall Street takes a Nose Dive and CRASHES!!!!!!!!!!! DAMN CROOKS.......
Apr 14, 2013 12:41PM
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Good for these gals.  Damn good way to pay the bills and give the customers enjoyment too.  Now, we need to get rid of all sneakers and other canvas shoes to spike the gal's business. 
Apr 12, 2013 2:48PM
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Sex has always and will always sell.  Down to the shape of a coke bottle being originally feminine to the degree we created the term that a woman has a "coke bottle shape" only because those that use the term do not get that its the opposite.

Sex sells and always will because it is basic to human survival. Sex is as basic a drive as hunger or thirst.

The only part of this that I find in the least wrong is that it is a man that started the business and for that reason alone I find it exploitative. Women alone should gain assets off their assets, or in this cases be abreast of how better to own the fruits of their labor.

Apr 12, 2013 2:50PM
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Its Obama's fault or stick something about banning assault weapons somewhere. Obamacare, NRA, Sandy Hook, Libtard, libby, dem, blah blah blah just put this here to please the right that they are still okay and the world is still bad for the reasons I posted this.
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