Shop Owner's Sign Makes Clear He Is Not Scientologist
Travis Wilkinson, owner of Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa, is putting a sign up in front of his business to let the public know he is not a member of the Church of Scientology.
CLEARWATER, FL -- A local business owner wants to make clear first he is a devoted Southern Baptist.
Too many people come into Travis Wilkinson's business, Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa, assuming he is a member of the Church of Scientology because of the shop's proximity to downtown Clearwater.
“And as a devoted Southern Baptist, for people to think I’m a Scientologist is very hurtful to me personally,” Wilkinson said.
He wants people to know not every business downtown is owned by the church or one of its members, so he is getting the finishing touches made on a directional sign to place out front of his salon saying just that.
“Notice: this is one of the only spas in downtown Clearwater not owned by a Scientologist” is emblazoned in red letters on a white background. He recently posted an image of what the sign will look like on the salon's Facebook page.
Wilkinson started the business as Largo Day Spa a few years ago but recently bought the building on Court Street and moved there last December. He said the salon is a Christian-based business; he tithes his profits and is closed on Sundays.
Wilkinson said he is not worried about losing business in a city where the church has a large footprint. About 10,000 residents are estimated to be members.
Rather, he said, the effect is just the opposite.
“We’ve had a great outcry of people saying thank you for telling us this,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson has been critical of the city and called opening his business "difficult." He estimates the city has cost him $200,000 between issues with permits and licenses, and he said he is debating legal recourse.
Wilkinson said he was threatened by a city official but when pressed would not talk more about the issue based on advice from his lawyer.
The sign, Wilkinson said, will still meet the city's stringent sign code. And he said everyone is welcome at the salon.
“I want the Clearwater public to know there are alternatives downtown to Scientology-owned businesses,” Wilkinson said.
Correction: The business owner's name is Travis Wilkinson. It was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.