CLEARWATER, Florida - A Clearwater business is sending a pretty clear message: it's not associated with Scientology. It's using a sign that one business owner said is purely about stating a fact.
The sign sits right in front of Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa. It's pretty small, it cost about $20 to make, but it's attracting a lot of attention.
"I do not want to be associated with them in any way. So, I felt the need to post a sign that stated just that," said Travis Wilkinson, owner of Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa.
That sign reads, "Notice: This is one of the only spas in downtown Clearwater not owned by a Scientologist."
Wilkinson said when he first opened the property a year ago, people assumed it was run by a Scientologist because it's so close to downtown Clearwater. "With all the different salons and spas in downtown Clearwater that I've researched so far, every single one has turned out to be owned by a Scientologist."
One of the first problems Travis had was with a book. It's called "Diabetics Handbook," but customers thought it said "Dianetics."
"I put a book of my uncle's out for sale that he had written. As a chairman of deacons at the Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, I was a little hurt by that."
The sign has gotten feedback from across the globe. "Our Facebook page is blowing up, our website is blowing up. I've gotten positive feedback from South Africa, Germany, Italy, Los Angeles, New York, Ohio, Washington DC. It's been crazy."
He's gotten negative feedback as well, including a few visitors and an online comment. "The public affairs director of Scientology, Pat Harney, calling me a bigot on the Internet," said Wilkinson.
He insisted he's not trying to take a stand or exclude anyone. "Everyone's welcome here, including Scientologists. I just want people to know, we are not associated with Scientology and that there are businesses in Clearwater that are not associated with Scientology. Please don't make that assumption."
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