Beer Barn's New Marketing Tool Getting Some Attention - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/21/07-Longview

Beer Barn's New Marketing Tool Getting Some Attention

An East Texas convenience store is getting some much-wanted attention, both positive and negative. Don's Fly Thru Beer Barn in Longview has installed a hot tub outside it's business, but it's what's inside the hot tub that's making some waves.

Chelsea arrives for her first day on the job--a job that isn't like any other.  That's because she's now a "Don's Darling." She's been hired, just like a dozen other girls, to sit inside a hot tub and greet customers. 

"We were having a problem with the guys pulling in line and if there was four backed up, in the line, well the fifth one would pull off so now they can talk to the girls, or you know just watch whatever they want to do," says owner Don Talley.

"Anytime you see some nice young ladies in a hot tub, thumbs up," says Robert Sullivan, a customer.

But not everyone is warming up to the idea.

"I feel like if women are sitting there with bikinis sitting in a hot tub trying to draw men, what does that say for them, I don't just think that's a good thing," says Candra Deese.

But owner Don Talley says he's helping the women, mostly single moms.  One newspaper ad says he offers them health benefits and even cosmetic surgery. 

"I'm going through a divorce and this is my second job and it helps pay the bills for me and my son, and I feel I don't feel like there is anything wrong with what I'm doing," says Don's Darling Alexis Thomas.

"I don't think the people in this community appreciate it and especially after sending out things like this [a postcard against Prop 7] and then turning around and putting girls in swimsuits to sell beer, I think it's despicable," says John Green of Green's Ad Agency.

He says Talley is contradicting his recent public stance against Proposition 7, claiming alcohol sales would bring more sexually oriented businesses.

"And then immediately after the election, open up what I believe is a sexually oriented business himself," Green adds.

But Talley says bottom line--sex sells and his "Darlings" are making his business a lot of money.

Talley says his new marketing campaign isn't just geared for guys.  He says he'll have days where men are in the hot tub.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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