Oakland spa changes 'ISIS' name due to safety concerns

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Concerns over the safety of female employees prompted an Oakland business owner to change a spa's name. The skin and body salon is named "ISIS" after the Egyptian goddess of beauty, but the name is now synonymous with the terror group. The owner is now trying to make the best out of bad circumstances.

People walking down Broadway are stopping to snap pictures of a banner that reads: "We're changing our name... (for obvious reasons.)"

It's funny, but the name change comes from serious concerns about safety for employees.

"We had to deal with too many bigots," said spa owner Aquil Naji. "The level of ignorance was just unbelievable."

The name ISIS is now associated with ugliness, no longer the Egyptian goddess of beauty.

"I have a 7-year-old who can understand, who can discern between an acronym and a name," said Naji.

The spa owner and employees say not everyone thinks as deeply.

"At first we didn't want to change it because it's been the name for so long, but there was kind of threats of people coming in and people just being really rude walking by and making phone calls," said spa manager Theresa Ayala.

Naji adds, "I will not let our employees be subjected to anybody's ignorance at all."

Ten years after opening, they posted the banner promising a name change, with the help of their neighbors Hamilton Broadway signs.

"He's a wonderful neighbor and a great asset to the community," said Leslie Wood with Hamilton Broadway Sign.

As people talk about the clever banner, the spa has turned bad luck into good branding.

"It was funny," said Oakland resident Alex Reyes. "I thought it was hilarious I mean, for obvious reasons, that's pretty funny."

The new name is "Elysium," a place of paradise or heaven; somewhere you won't find ISIS fighters.

New signs are expected in the coming weeks.

Click here to learn more about the spa.
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