By Betsy Blaney
LUBBOCK, Texas — Police in this staunchly conservative West Texas city are keeping close tabs on a young entrepreneur's recently opened cleaning service that offers nude maids.
Lubbock police Sgt. Jonathan Stewart said the owner of Fantasy Maid Service of Lubbock doesn't have a permit to operate a sexually oriented business and officers are watching for any violation, which would bring a $2,000 fine.
But owner Melissa Borrett insists she's not operating such a business. Customers pay $100 an hour for one maid or $150 an hour for two maids, and no touching is allowed, she said.
"I run a maid service," the 26-year-old entrepreneur said. "We really just clean houses. These girls are not performers. They're maids."
The West Texas native and mother said she started the business about a month ago because she was struggling as a waitress to make ends meet. She had even been living at the Occupy Lubbock encampment near Texas Tech University's campus in Lubbock.
"I just decided to go a little bigger, work a little smarter," she said.
Her business model isn't unique, but the city's ordinance requires all sexually oriented businesses to apply for a permit, which costs $650 a year, and to post a $5,000 surety bond or letter of credit.
Such businesses are defined as any commercial venture whose operations include "providing, featuring or offering of employees or entertainment personnel who appear in a state of nudity, seminude or simulated nudity and provide live performances or entertainment" intended to sexually stimulate or gratify customers "and which is offered as a feature of a primary business activity of the venture."
Stewart wouldn't say how police planned to keep tabs on the maid service, and Borrett said she would hire an attorney to fight any attempt by the city to shut her down.
So far, Borrett said, business has been good and she is now busy interviewing to hire more maids. She currently has three on staff. She offers a regular discount to government employees and law enforcement, and an ad posted Friday on the online bartering site Craigslist offered 20 percent discounts for Easter weekend.
If requested, the maids would clean fully clothed, but the cost is the same.
"It is kind of pricey, but we're fantasy maids," Borrett said.
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Copyright 2012 Associated Press