Donald Crabtree opened the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, in Vassalboro, Maine, so he, his employees and his customers could have a laugh. Now, two years later, he claims he is forced to close it down due to sabotage.
Ina town with fewer than 4,500 residents, you wouldn’t expect a controversial venture like Donald’s topless coffee shop to succeed, but it did. Back in 2009, crowds were pouring in to the only place they could be served hot coffee by topless waiters and waitresses, and the owner described his business as “fantastic”. He had hired ten women and five men, out of the almost 200 applications he received, from skinny to big boned people. With the economy so bad at the time, the coffee shop put a smile on people’s faces and took their minds off problems.
But that was back then. These days, the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, and Donald Crabtree had to make some staff cuts and reduce their hours, just to keep his business alive. He says locals have been against his innovative idea from day one, and even though he managed to hold out against their sabotage this long, enough is enough. The final straw was a series of violations reported by the town, regarding two billboard he set up, one advertising a benefit topless car wash and the other said “Boobies wanted”. Authorities say it’s not about what’s on the billboards, but their size – they’re larger than what’s permitted under his local permit and the adult-only ordinance.
In June 2009, the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop burned to the ground, and police suspect arson. A man who was in a relationship with one of the topless waitresses was charged with the fire. He moved his business inside a trailer parked on the premisses, while trying to raise enough for a new proper coffee shop. But with business going worse and worse, and the town’s people constantly harassing and allegedly sabotaging him, Donald is ready to throw in the towel and plans to close his topless coffee shop as soon as his inventory runs out.
If you’re thinking of visiting the topless coffee shop in Vassalboro before it’s too late, you should know it charges a $5 fee as a mandatory tip for the nude waitresses, and coffee costs $3 for the first cup and $6 for subsequent ones.
Photos via Harvard.edu
Story via Online Sentinel