Sign states 'This is one of the only spas in downtown Clearwater not owned by a Scientologist'

Business owner says sign is not discriminatory

CLEARWATER - Driving toward downtown Clearwater, one small sign on Court Street carries a rather large message reading, "Notice: this is one of the only spas in downtown Clearwater not owned by a Scientologist."

"It should not affect other businesses in the area and it is time that we make that clarification so that people will come back down here," said Travis Wilkinson.

Wilkinson owns Berry Beautiful Salon and Spa.  He said the sign's message will make sure he does not lose customers.

"They would assume that we were owned by Scientologists because of our proximity to downtown Clearwater," he said.

Wilkinson said he is not the only business owner worried about a negative association with the church and has the support of 15 more.  He's working to form the Clearwater small business coalition which would offer similar signs to its members.

"I just felt the need to help those businesses out that are not members," he said.

We tried to ask local shoppers about the sign, but no one wanted to speak on camera.  Neither would the Church of Scientology, which did not provide comment for our story.

While Wilkinson wants to distance his business from Scientology, he would not discourage business from its members.

"I have no problem with whatever they do. They are all welcome here just as much as anyone else in the general public," said Wilkinson.

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