Cover up or move away from kids, group demands
More than 200 people filled Spokane Valley City Council chambers and packed the hallways Tuesday to ask elected officials to force lingerie-clad baristas at nearby XXXtreme Espresso to cover up or move to a location out of the sight of children.
Protesters said they think the laws pertaining to adult entertainment venues should apply to the drive-thru coffee stand in the 11700 block of East Sprague Avenue.
“We’re here to support our concern for the community,” said Valley resident Dena Tucker. “We’ve chosen to live in a family-oriented community. We want our community to stay a safe place for our children. We are petitioning our City Council to address our concerns and the city codes.”
The stand came to the forefront of community awareness when a sign recently posted out front read: “Topless Tuesdays and Thursdays.” On those days, the baristas wear star-shaped pasties.
The issue was not on the City Council’s agenda Tuesday. Still, dozens signed up to testify before the elected officials, and each had three minutes to talk.
The testimony followed eight days of protesting in front of the coffee stand, an effort led by Shelly Clark, leader of the Coalition for Community Values. She took responsibility for bringing the largest crowd in history to a Spokane Valley City Council meeting.
Some who didn’t sign up to give testimony were there to support the cause.
“The codes are already written, the laws are already in place,” said Spokane Valley resident Amy Jensen. “We have to protect our kids.”
Meanwhile, less than two buildings away from the stir at the council chambers, baristas were busy serving customers.
Manager Brittani Burns, 20, said the coffee business has actually been busier since the uproar began, and they’ve had supporters stop by, too.
“We’ve had a car full of women come through and tell us to just keep doing what we’re doing,” she said.
Shelby Johnson, a barista who spends more than 40 hours a week at the stand, says she’s never felt as exposed as she did when the protesters shot pictures and videos of her each day.
The 22-year-old said the protesters are out there “publicly shaming me every day, but they don’t even try to talk to us.”