Fayetteville Coffee Shop Causes Controversy

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A Fayetteville coffee shop is causing a bit of an uproar over its stripped-down business model that’s making it stand out from other shops in town.

Cowgirls Espresso has been in business since September, but Thursday, in an attempt to draw in more customers, one of their baristas took to the streets in her bikini.

Something the business owner said he’s okay with, but others said it sends a bad message.

Cowgirls Espresso is a full-service, drive-thru coffee shop, and Marla Howe, a Fayetteville resident, said she didn’t’ have a problem with the business until Thursday, when she saw one of Cowgirl’s baristas on the corner of Razorback Road and Martin Luther King Boulevard, in a bikini, with a sign promoting the coffee shop.

“It’s distractive, it’s lude, it’s suggestive to a younger generation,” Marla Howe said.

Cowgirl’s owner, Cody Bailey said he doesn’t see an issue with what the baristas wear.

“We’re not doing anything that you couldn’t see at your local pool or the beach,” Cody Bailey, Cowgirls Espresso owner said.

But Howe strongly disagrees.

“It’s wrong to impose what she’s showing, and previewing and putting out there to people who don’t have choice,” Howe said.

Bailey said his shop caters to men and women, the outfits are just a way to make his business stand out, and his baristas say the customers keep coming back.

“Obviously, men may come by here more for  the service and the smile, but women will come by here because they actually like enjoy the coffee,”

And Bailey said the support of the staff and customers reaffirms his faith in his business model.

“If the girls weren’t comfortable then we’re doing something wrong, and the girls love coming to work every single day for the outfits and for the fun they get to have with the customers,” Bailey said.

But Howe said the location of Thursday’s barista, just blocks from Fayetteville High, and just outside the University of Arkansas campus, sends a bad message.

“I think Fayetteville is better than this, I have nothing against the business owner, make all the money you want, but keep it within the walls of the establishment,” Howe said.

Bailey said his baristas are just working to draw more customers while the weather is still nice, but once December starts to feel like December, the baristas will likely remain inside.


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