Wash. 'sexpresso' stands may get X rating

Wash. 'sexpresso' stands may get X rating »Play Video
A barely clad barista brews up a cup at the Espresso Gone Crazy stand in Kitsap County.
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - Business is booming for so-called "sexpresso" stands in Kitsap County, where they're busting out all over.

Five have opened in the past year - with baristas baring plenty of skin. And now the county is considering new regulations that would classify the stands as "adult entertainment."

If the new regulations are approved, the "sexpresso" stands would have to post signs and check customers' identification.

The proposal comes after the county received some complaints from the public about the stands.

But at the Espresso Gone Crazy stand near Bremerton on Thursday, the cheerful baristas greeted customers with a smile. In fact, a smile is about all the scantily clad baristas wore.

"Sex sells, and we're the busiest coffee stand in Kitsap County," says barista Vanessa Olson. She says sales are skyrocketing.

Customer reaction was mixed. One customer said the idea is "brilliant," while another said she thought the baristas are being exploited.

Several other stands have popped up in the last year including Fantasy Espresso and Steamy Grounds. The servers wear carefully placed stickers covering their above-the-waist assets.

Larry Keeton of the Kitsap County Department of Community Development says some people have complained.

So he came up with proposed regulations for the county commission's consideration - from what constitutes "lewd" conduct to classifying the stands as "adult entertainment" establishments - with no one under 18 allowed.

"So now you have to have someone checking the cars as they go through the line making sure all the occupants are 18 (if the regulations are approved)," Keeton says.

Espresso Gone Crazy owner J.J. Wilson says more regulations would hurt business, and baristas could lose jobs.

"There's a smaller minority of people trying to speak for a large majority," he says.

He says that added regulations could also hurt the businesses that supply his stand and others with coffee and other supplies.

"There's a lot of vendors we all use, too. This just doesn't touch those in the stand, but out of the stand as well," he says.

Others say it boils down to a moral issue.

"It decays our society," says Kristen Williams. She and her friends come to the stands hoping to counsel the coffee makers.

It's a hot button issue that continues to brew.

There will be a public hearing on the issue Aug. 2 at the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners meeting.