Topless Maine Coffee Shop Reopens in Tent

Tod Hunter
VASSALBORO, Maine — The Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, which was destroyed in an arson fire last week, has reopened in a tent with fully dressed servers handing out free doughnuts and coffee and collecting donations for a rebuilding fund.

The fire caused $500,000 in damage to the shop and adjacent former motel where shop owner Donald Crabtree lived, and he did not have insurance.

"We're under a tent but we're still here," Crabtree told a local TV station. "Everybody's safe, so it's just material. So, we'll rebuild again and get going."

Under local zoning rules, Crabtree would need a new permit to operate his business from a trailer or other structure on the property. The tent is exempt from those rules.

Crabtree said the tent will remain open all week, rain or shine.

At a town meeting Monday night, Vassalboro residents voted almost unanimously to restrict adult businesses in the town, with only five people out of more than 400 voting against the ordinance.

The new rules will set guidelines on how close an adult business can be to schools, homes, churches and parks, and regulate signage and the exterior of buildings.

After the fire, town officials said that the Grand View Coffee Topless Shop would be grandfathered if Crabtree rebuilds the shop exactly as the planning board approved earlier this year. If Crabtree tries to build anything else, it would fall under the new guidelines of this ordinance, which takes effect immediately.