Where did the idea for Sexxpresso (670 E. Flamingo) come from?
I’ve been in Vegas 22 years, so I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve been a photographer, so I’ve always loved pretty girls. Driving around town, there’s a Starbucks on every corner. Like everybody else, I started getting into drinking coffee, but I wasn’t impressed. I thought, “There’s got to be a better way.” So I hooked up with a partner, a coffee guy who’s from Rome, and I said, “Let’s do this sexy coffee shop with the idea of Starbucks merging with Hooters.” We’re in Vegas, so it actually works. Or we can get away with it, anyway. Just the name itself is going to scare a lot of people away. But at the same time, that’s what attracts all the attention. People see the name and they don’t even know what it is when they stop; they just want to see what it is. But that’s fine. That’s what I had in mind. When I came up with the name, I thought, “This is going to get attention.” And it does.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far in getting Sexxpresso off the ground?
It’s been a lot easier than I thought it would be. Normally when you open a business you have to get exposure, get people to know your name and know you exist. It’s been just the opposite. We tried to open quietly and that went out the window the first day. Channel 3 did a story on us, and it was picked up by over half the NBC affiliates nationwide, then MSNBC picked it up. Our results pages on Google went from like five to 65,000 overnight. It was totally out of the blue. We had no clue it would take off like it did. So the challenge wasn’t really getting noticed; the challenge is going to be deciding what to do next.
What are the criteria to being a Bodacious Barista other than being sexxy with two Xs?
Believe it or not, that’s not the first thing we look at. There’s a lot that goes into being sexy, and it’s not just the way a person looks. Everyone we hired we interviewed, and in the interview they didn’t have to parade around in their underwear or anything. The criteria is sexy, fun, hard-working, smart, and customer service is really big for us. When people come up to our shop they get greeted with a smile and a hello. The girls are always talking to them. It’s really in-your-face customer service, and the customers are going to enjoy the attention they get from the staff, and the fun they’re going to have intermingling with them.