Local doughnut shop facing criticism
Front Royal business responds to backlash
By Katie Demeria
FRONT ROYAL — Tiana Ramos, 17, said she opened Naughty Girls Donut Shop to give all outsiders a place to go. But not everyone is happy with her message.
Tiana and her mother, Natalie Ramos, have dealt with backlash from some members of the community claiming the business promotes promiscuous behavior.
Natalie Ramos issued a news release Tuesday in which she referred to Front Royal as “the Footloose town.” The release stated “a strong Conservative Alliance group” in the community was protesting Naughty Girls’ name, calling the shop a “bikini barista.”
“I wanted the chance for Tiana to be able to defend herself,” Natalie Ramos said Wednesday. “It’s becoming too much. It’s time for her to say, ‘listen, this is what I’m doing, this is what I stand for, these are who we stand for, and we want your support.”
Natalie Ramos said the harassment has been an ongoing issue.
Within a week of opening the shop in late June at 70 Riverton Commons Drive, Natalie Ramos was standing outside the store when someone driving by threw garbage at the door.
“They literally threw trash at the door and said, ‘Naughty Girls burn in hell,'” she said. “I started bawling, right there.”
Natalie Ramos said she chose not to report the incident to authorities because she did not want to make it a big deal. Soon, though, she noticed comments on the popular review website Yelp.
“They were talking about how the girls look like hussies, they didn’t talk about the food or the service,” she said. “I asked them to please remove the posts, which they did.”
She began noticing posts on Facebook and Twitter soon afterward, too, claiming the shop promotes a negative message.
“They were saying that the shop represents sluts and anyone who works there is promiscuous,” Natalie Ramos said. “It was a lot of negativity that didn’t need to be there.”
Recently, Natalie Ramos also received a letter that was sent to several area businesses.
The letter states a group, identifying itself as “Local Catholics of Front Royal,” would boycott the shop if it does not stop advertising with an area newspaper. A representative with St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church said the parish did not send the letter.
That was not the first time Natalie Ramos said she was told about a boycott — she has a friend who was also asked to participate. As was the mother of an employee, who said she was asked to boycott because the logo features a devil’s tail.
“I never even noticed the devil’s tail,” Natalie Ramos said. “I thought it was just a curve.”
Even after posting the news release, Natalie Ramos received another accusatory email, suggesting the owners “only want to attract male customers.” She posted it on their Facebook page.
Tiana Ramos said the store was meant to be a refuge for anyone who is bullied at school, dresses differently or in general feels they do not belong. She said those protesting the business are missing the message.
“I wish they would actually get to know me, because I’m not the person they think I am,” she said. “Okay, I have tattoos, and I don’t dress like the good kid that goes to church every Sunday, but I’m a good person.”
Currently a senior at Warren County High School, Tiana Ramos was recently awarded a full scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America.
When asked if the harassment may cause her to find a new location for the store, Tiana Ramos said, “heck no.”
“They’re the reason we’re staying here,” she said.
Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org