Things are Getting Ugly

Some company owners are really good at dancing on bars and sassing men. Others know how to expand and license their brand. It wasn’t easy, but Lil Lovell, founder of the Coyote Ugly saloons, managed to master both.

Liliana Lovell’s Cabo San Lucas bar started out badly. Then it got worse. Back in 1993, Lovell, known as Lil, had founded the Coyote Ugly Saloon, a rowdy, honky-tonk dive in New York City’s East Village. Seven years later her life as a barkeep changed drastically when Coyote Ugly, a movie set in a Hollywood version of her bar, was released. Seizing on the free publicity, Lovell ginned up plans to turn Coyote Ugly into an international chain.

She wasn’t the only one with the idea, however. Shortly after the movie’s release, Jorge Manterola, the brother of the well-known Mexican singer Patricia Manterola, set up a website claiming to be the “master franchise” for Coyote Ugly in Latin America…