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Incoming Bikini Barista Business Raises Eyebrows in Chico

"The inappropriate attire of the baristas working at this establishment does not align with what we're trying to teach our kids at this studio," said Hype Dance Studio owner Sara Schneeweis.

Posted: Aug 29, 2018 3:47 AM
Updated: Aug 29, 2018 1:43 PM

Chico, Calif.-- Students at Hype Dance Studio in Chico may be looking for a new place to refuel after a tough class.

"Java Detour was somewhere we used to all go to to get back, and now we're having to have this conversation about why is it not ok to go over there anymore," said Sara Schneeweis, owner of Hype Dance Studio.

After Jave Detour closed down, the kiosk was purchased by a company called "Bottoms Up Espresso", a franchsie that features female servers in lacy undergarments.

"My first gut reaction is, 'I don't want our kids to have to be exposed to that'... the inappropriate attire of the baristas working at this establishment does not align with what we're trying to teach our kids at this studio," said Schneeweis.

According to City Manager Mark Orme, Bottoms Up did pull a business license and they've purchased the location on 1ast Avenue and Mangrove.

The "Now Hiring" sign went up last weekend.

"The thing that the city has control over is land use - and a business such as a coffe establishment, there's a use-permit that runs with the land," said Orme.

As for a zoning ordinance that may stop this from happening? It just doesn't exist.

There are bans on clothing removal, adult entertainment, and nudity.

But if they're technically not showing anything but a lot of skin, there's nothing the city can do.

"We have laws on the books that allow for restriction on how people conduct their business, which is beneficial in this instance, where we can enforce certain things that can't be done," said Orme.

Bottoms Up co-owner Alexandra Ireland has said there are strict rules about attire, saying quote, ""It does not allow them to wear anything that they could not wear to a public beach."

Still, Schneeweis says many of her students' parents won't sit back and let this happen.

"If they just cloth their employees properly, that would be a lot better, or if they wanted to keep it the way it is, they could just find another location ," said Schneeweis."

But nearly every time a city or county has gone up against these types of chains, they've lost.

In fact, last year a group of baristas sued the city of Everett, Washington after it banned their bikini attire, saying the new ordinance violated their constitutional right to free expression and right to privacy.

For Chico, it's not over yet.

"You have 7 elected city council members that want to know what the community wants here and what they don't want here, that opportunity always exists," said Orme.

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A trough of low pressure is moving over northern California this afternoon and tonight, and that will increase our wind speed and raise our area's fire danger even further. The wind will be weaker Thursday, but the smoke will get worse.
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