Topless Coffee Shop

Un Vero Espress...ione D'Amore
photo credit: WTL photos

Here’s an idea that I didn’t think would pop up in a small town Maine: a topless coffee shop.

On Tuesday morning, a small sign hung in front of the log cabin-style building, listing the hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
The outside windows were covered with promotional posters for New England Coffee. Up the entrance ramp to the front door, another sign: “Over 18 only” — and another at the door: “No cameras, no touching, cash only.” A man in a white dress shirt kept watch at the front door.

Inside, two men sipped coffee at their booth; the rest of the tables were empty. There are 15 tables, with room enough for 58 people.

On Tuesday, inside were three topless women, one topless man and owner Donald Crabtree in a dress shirt and tie. Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” was playing.

What other kind of coffee shop can employee waiters and waitresses and not have to pay them a wage?

Crabtree said he does not pay his staff a regular wage; all their earnings come from customer tips, mostly ranging from $5 to $20.

On Tuesday morning, Kelley brought coffee to a male customer, who gulped down about half of the cup during a couple minutes, handed Kelley a $100 bill and left without saying a word.

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