Maine Topless Coffee Shop Lost to Blaze: Definite Arson

June 4, 2009

(ChattahBox)— The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop burned to the ground Wednesday morning, the hot flames eagerly devouring the old wood frame building. Barely three months in business, the unassuming establishment proved a lightening rod for controversy and media attention in the small rural town of Vassalboro, Maine where the taciturn residents like their coffee hot and strong with a blueberry cruller on the side, preferably served by local folks with their shirts on.

Fire officials have ruled the blaze a definite act of arson and it’s under investigation, with evidence sent to the state police crime for lab analysis. The shop’s owner, Donald Crabtree opened up his salacious business in the former Grand View Motel, where he and his family also lived, including his two grown daughters, their boyfriends and his grandchildren, two four-month-old infants.

An ambulance driving to Belfast, Maine, noticed the fire, woke Crabtree and six other people from the motel and helped them escape the fire. Crabtree didn’t have insurance and he is determined to reopen his topless business in a temporary mobile trailer, on the charred ruins of his former business. His employees of 10 woman and 3 men (yes there were male topless waiters too) are now out of work and in shock.

When the topless coffee shop opened in February, dozens of angry residents showed up at the Vassalboro planning board to express their displeasure, but town officials said the business met the letter of the law. There are no town laws prohibiting nudity as long as alcohol is not served.

Crabtree with his town permits in hand, transformed the former Grand View Motel into a topless establishment, which looked the same from a distance, but once nearing the entrance, the new signage alerted residents to a definate change in ownership. One sign announced in bold letters, “Over 18 only.” Another said, “No cameras, no touching, cash only.”

Crabtree realized he could run a successful business promoting bare breasted waitresses, without serving a drop of alcohol and he would still make money. The tiny town of Vassalboro with barely 5,000 residents drew its customers from the nearby cities of Augusta and Waterville. Crabtree told CNN in an interview in February that business was great and his establishment was mobbed.

Crabtree knew many residents weren’t happy with his business, but he never received any threats. Apparently, someone in the area didn’t like Crabtree’s novel business concept of bare breasts along with your coffee and doughnuts, and burned the place down.



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