Coffee Shop: Vassalboro Maine (VIDEO)

February 25, 2009

Grand View Coffee Shop in Vassalboro, Maine? See photos, video and find out more about Starbucks’ latest and most daring competitor.

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Take your pick. What is more surprising? That the Grand View Coffee Shop opened in Vassalboro, Maine (of all places) on very chilly February morning with two feet of snow on the ground? That 150 people applied for the 10 available jobs as ‘bare-istas’?

Initially there were complaints and objections about the sans shirt cafe from more than 50 residents who turned out to hearings before the Planning Board but nonetheless town officials said they were unable to prevent the owner, Donald Crabtree, from opening the coffee shop.

Thus, the Grand View Coffee Shop had its grand opening with just a few ground rules: only adults over 18 are allowed to enter the cash only establishment. No cameras and no touching allowed. On opening day, in spite of the snowstorm, staff members estimated that the Vassalboro coffee shop has 50-60 customers of which approximately eight were women.

The hours are 6am to 6pm with just two items on the menu–‘New England Coffee’ selling for $3, and donuts from Chase Farm Bakery in Whitefield priced at $2 each–served by females and one male.

Waitress Susie Wiley, a 23 year old who has worked in coffee shops since she was a teenager, said she applied for the job because it is “something different.” She went on to say she loves the job and finds it “very empowering, not degrading” as the patrons whom she describes as men, women and couples from “all walks of life” have been “completely respectful.�?

Brothers Dick and Rene Brochu of Augusta, ages 60 and 59, said they decided to stop by the cafe after hearing about it from friends.

“I really hope it works,” Dick Brochu said. “It’s different. I kind of like it. If you don’t like it, I say don’t come in, stay away….The evil is in your head.”

Here is a safe for work photo of workers at the Grand View Coffee Shop and owner, Don Crabtree.

This is the same picture that the newspaper, Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine, put on its front page in covering the story. They heard from a “couple dozen” upset readers, some of whom canceled their subscriptions. The newspaper Maine printed an editorial on this new development in the story of the cafe.

Watch safe for work video below.

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