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FRIDAY FUNNY: Maine Coffee Shop Tries Stripped Down Marketing Tactic

Written by Heidi Schwartz. Posted in Friday Funny

Tagged: , , , ,

Published on March 13, 2009 with 1 Comment

Photo: WGME

Photo: WGME

Less is more, at least for one innovative coffee shop in the small town of Vassalboro, ME. Owner Donald Crabtree has found a way to bolster business and bring in the customers (and job applicants) during this tough economic spike: topless servers.

More than 150 applicants expressed interest in the 15 positions (10 women and five men), and Crabtree made his selections based primarily on customer service attitudes—not overall physique or previous serving experience. From CNN:

In a town with fewer than 4,500 residents, the topless coffee shop is booming with business. Paul Crabtree, the owner’s brother, describes business so far as “fantastic.”

Many local residents were irate over the idea of combining coffee and nudity. Crabtree, however, saw a profitable business venture.

“I know what people want,” the owner said. “People like nudity, and coffee is profitable. Sure, I’d start a coffee shop, but I’d be out of work in a week.”

The coffee shop jobs are paying off. One waitress received a $100 tip for a cup of coffee, and most of the wait staff make about $30 a table.

“The economy is so bad,” Crabtree said, “Everyone’s losing their homes, their ties, everything they own. People leave here happy and can’t wait to come back. It’s nice to see people smile again.”

Check this link for a video of resident responses.

The shop opened on Monday, February 23, 2009. Patrons are not allowed to touch the waitstaff, and customers must be over the age of 18.

About Heidi Schwartz

Heidi Schwartz

Schwartz joined Group C Media in April 1989 as managing editor of Today's Facility Manager (TFM) magazine (formerly Business Interiors) where she was subsequently promoted to editor/co-publisher of the monthly trade magazine for facility management professionals. In September 2012, she took over the newly created position of internet director for TFM's parent company, Group C Media, where she is charged with developing content and creating online strategies for TFM and its sister publication, Business Facilities. Schwartz can be reached at schwartz@groupc.com.

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1 Comment

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  1. Anne Vazquez

    An update to this story: This coffee shop was destroyed in a fire this morning. Fire officials in the town said the fire started early this morning.

    When the shop opened this past February, there had been opposition to the business from some people in the area due to the waitstaff working topless. And apparently, the owner had been trying to obtain a permit to open a strip club on the site. So, that could be a motive for arson by unhappy neighbors.

    In any event, the owner told a television news station that he had no insurance (not sure how he opened without it), so he may be out of business for good.

    Fortunately, there were no injuries.

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