In Raleigh, on the edge of downtown, there’s a coffee truck that causes many customers to do a double-take. The women pouring ‘cups of Joe’ are wearing fishnets, lingerie and other sexy attire. The truck is appropriately called 'Cup O Jane.' The entrepreneurs who started this risque coffee service were looking for options after a lay-off. And if there’s one thing for sure, even in a down economy, sex sells.
There’s been a steady chill in the air since ‘Cup O Jane’ opened. You would think one would catch a cold wearing nothing more than a fancy bikini to work. Not to worry. There’s a space heater keeping the coffee truck as hot as a 'DD Cup' of Mocha Latte. Amy Carrieri is one of the baristas at ‘Cup O Jane’ and a part-owner.
“When we would tell friends our idea, I think you got a little bit of, 'Hmm, I wonder if that’s gonna work,' or, 'Hell yes, Raleigh needs something like that,'" says Carrieri.
The ‘Cup O Jane’ truck is like your regular food truck, but there’s a walk-up window and a drive-up window, both with a full body view of scantily clad women making coffee and tea and ringing up snacks.
“It might have been intentional when we first started, but now I think you just go with it," says Carrieri. "The reason why the windows are the way they are is so the guy can get the whole view, minus our feet. We’re wearing comfortable shoes.”
This day is fishnet day, so Carrieri and Ashlee Pack are wearing black fishnet dresses with red booty shorts and red push-up bras underneath.
“My name is Matt Wilson, and I’m drinking just a 'A Cup' cup of coffee with cream and sugar," says Wilson, with a broad smile.
Wilson emphasizes 'A Cup' because listing coffee cups in bra sizes is how you buy coffee at ‘Cup O Jane.’ An 'A Cup' of regular or decaf is only $1.20. You’ll pay about 50 cents more for a 'DD Cup.'
Carrieri, a former dancer, and her husband, Blair Carrieri, came up with this scheme to sell coffee after Blair lost his job as a personal bodyguard. Blair Carrieri says he’s taking his business model out of a playbook that’s been done well for a long time.
"Nothing they do as far as dress is illegal. It’s close. It’s Hooters style, I guess you would call it, if that’s where we want to go with this. Classy, sexy is how I would prefer to say it," says Blair Carrieri.
And business is getting better every day.
“It’s good to have a guy smile when he comes up to the window, starts his day off right; good cup of coffee and eye candy to-go," said Blair Carrieri.
The Carrieris admit it wasn’t easy-going at first. ‘Cup O Jane’s’ first home was on a piece of property near Brentwood Square. The property owners wanted the women to change their uniform. The Carrieris said no, so they had to move. Now the coffee truck sits right off Capital Boulevard, not too far from the capitol. They like it there on industrial row. Blair Carrieri says it doesn't hurt that he's a former bodyguard.
"Yeah, I guess you can say that. Guys will be guys when the girls are dressed like that, but we don’t have too much of a problem," said Blair Carrieri.
And it’s not a problem for Amy Carrieri either.
"People will come to the window and order a cup of coffee and say, 'Well what are you?'" says Amy Carrieri. "When I say 'C Cup,' they say, 'I’ll take that.' So see, it works.”