AUGUSTA, Maine — It's downtown Augusta's latest attraction: three young women clad in lingerie who wave to passersby from a store window.
The attention-grabbing models were hired by Spellbound, a lingerie store that recently opened on Water Street and is trying to establish its name.
The reaction from the public and neighboring business has been mixed.
Police have received complaints, and the owner of a business across the road says the women are driving away customers, especially shoppers with children.
"It's tainting the wholesome businesses down here," said Carrie Rossignol, co-owner of Video Game Exchange. "I think it's selfish, and I think it's morally reprehensible."
Others suggest that the women, who have graced Spellbound's storefront a few days a week since September, bring life and beauty to an often colorless street.
"It's like a New York thing. It's urban. It's edgy," said Stacy Gervais, owner of Stacy's Hallmark Store and a founder of a downtown merchants group. "We need a shtick _ something that we do that attracts people and gets us remembered."
Spellbound's owner, former Cony High School teacher Felicia Stockford, said she came up with the idea while brainstorming for an inexpensive marketing idea. "I thought, 'You know, that's a big window, and if I put girls in there to wave at traffic, it would draw a lot of attention.'"
Paid only in lingerie, the women said they volunteer because they love being seen.
"I enjoy it," said Tara Manns, 20. "I enjoy the looks I get."
"It's good to get attention once and a while," said Amanda Richards, 21.
Accompanied by Jesyka Clark, 18, Manns and Richards stood, kneeled or reclined in the window Friday, flirtatiously cooing and waving at drivers stopped at a red light.
"They're exhibitionists," said Stockford, noting that's she's had no trouble finding models for the window.
Stockford said the models do not show private parts that would break the law and she forbids the women from striking overly suggestive poses.
Police officers have visited the store in response to complaints, but have found nothing illegal, said Lt. Peter Couture. He said there are no state or city laws that prohibit wearing lingerie in public.
© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.