This is why we can't have nice things

Since I'm on an apolitical tear just now, I may as well update the readership on some local color.

Wee little Vassalboro, Maine (not far from the Bleakonomy Head Office in beautiful, sunny Augusta) gained a bit of notoriety thanks to the Grand View Coffee Shop, where the coffee was served by topless waitresses (and, in a charmingly blinkered bit of political correctness, a few shirtless dudes as well). From USA Today:
Last month, Starbucks introduced a $1 bottomless cup of coffee to boost sales. Yesterday, a former motel turned java hut topped that offer in a bid to stimulate the local Maine economy.

The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, in tiny Vassalboro, held its grand opening. Obey the signs:

“Over 18 only.”

“No cameras, no touching, cash only.”

Waitron Susie Wiley, 23, has worked in coffee shops since she was a teen. She took a job at the Grand View because it is "something different."


The town's planning board unanimously approved the coffee shop last month.

"I say, bring the money in," resident Kevin Goodrich said. "People need jobs and it's a good place to go. The economy's not very good right now, so why not do it?"

Apparently, mid-Maine just isn't read for topless java joints. From the KJ:
It was arson.

That has been ruled the cause of an early morning fire Wednesday that destroyed the controversial Grand View Topless Coffee Shop and adjoining apartments where the owner and his family were sleeping.

Investigators with the State Fire Marshal's Office discovered evidence in the building's rubble, leading to the determination Wednesday afternoon that the fire was intentionally set, said Stephen McCausland, of the state Department of Public Safety. Four investigators were assisted by an arson-sniffing dog, he said.

As tempting as it is to snicker at this, it's an appalling way to express displeasure to burn down a building, particularly when there are people sleeping in the adjoining apartments. Lest you think the owner had a hand in it...

Crabtree said he did not have the coffee shop property insured, which he admits was a mistake because "I put everything I had into this building and it's pretty much gone." Crabtree said he paid $277,000 for the former motel and restaurant property, and did not owe any debt on it.

Well, yes. Yes, it was a mistake not to insure your highly controversial business that was also your home. I'm sorry for your loss, but that was not good planning.

What will mid-Maine now miss out on?
Crabtree outlined proposals to extend the shop's hours of operations to 1 a.m., expand the parking lot for employees and have its wait staff dancing to the music of a disc jockey. Crabtree had wanted to expand the business into a strip club, but he had scaled back those plans Tuesday night to avoid needing a new permit.
Oh, well. At least we still have the local smut peddler.

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