From the Deserts of the Middle East to the Clubs of Wisconsin: The Multifaceted Journey of Jim Halbach, ACE National Small Club Owner Liaison

By Angelina Spencer-Crisp

Jim Halbach is the proprietor of Wisconsin Dolls, located in Wisconsin Dells, WI. It’s a modest establishment with a vivid presence thanks to Halbach’s dynamic yet laid-back personality. Additionally, Halbach proudly serves on the ACE National Board of Directors and was recently appointed as the liaison for small club operators.

“Contrary to popular belief, roughly 90% of adult clubs in the U.S. operate on annual revenues well below $700k,” notes Halbach. “Owning a multi-million-dollar club isn’t the norm. I want my fellow small club owners to understand that I’m always available for a chat.”

With a business tenure in the adult club industry spanning nearly twenty-five years, coincidentally the same duration ACE National has existed, Halbach began his journey with a conventional bar, the Dart Inn. Located near General Motors, he later pivoted from regular bar to Screaming Mee Mee’s Juice Bar before evolving into Diamond Jim’s.

“I once managed and owned four establishments,” reminisces Halbach. “Wisconsin Dells, globally renowned as the waterpark capital, is located between Chicago and Minnesota. During summers, its population surges from mere thousands to over two million. Business here is pretty good but somewhat seasonal.”

Yet, even in such a promising locale, Halbach acknowledges his hurdles.

“Recruitment of dancers remains a constant challenge, and local regulations often feel arbitrary,” he laments. “A decision from local officials once prohibited alcohol at my clubs, causing an 80% dip in our revenue.”

“Engage, learn and evolve. Learn from these people how to do things right, and become a member of ACE.”


– Jim Halbach, ACE National Small Club Owner Liaison

This aforementioned prohibition was a consequence of one local person’s concerns over combining alcohol with a young clientele. Resilient, Halbach engaged legal counsel to contest this decision, enduring losses both in the initial trial and its appeal. But he triumphed at the WI Supreme Court.

“I aligned with ACE National partly for this reason,” Halbach explains. “The association provided insights and education from those who had navigated similar challenges, many with much more at stake. Also, the invaluable assistance of Attorney Alan Rubin was helpful. He educated elected officials about our industry. They later looked to him for answers and support on their policies and regulations.”

The local ruling was deemed excessively broad, especially after Rubin highlighted the impractical implications for venues like golf courses and Green Bay Packers games, which would demand multiple liquor licenses under the ‘plain view’ requirement. Halbach’s takeaway? “Perseverance and education pays off!”

What many might find surprising about Halbach is his intriguing past, which includes top secret security clearances and roles repairing office machinery in the Middle East.

“I served with E-Systems out of Greenville, Texas,” Halbach tells ACE National Director Angelina Spencer. “I had assignments in places like El Gorah, Egypt with exposure to sensitive information.”

His achievements abroad and his sales acumen were recognized, earning him a place twice on E-Systems’ President’s Page. Later roles took him to locations like Camp David during significant global events. He also managed office machinery, which was regularly inspected for foreign surveillance devices.

“Experiences like being there for the defense dome missile events in Israel were eye-opening,” he says. “It was an exciting time for our nation, and I was in the middle of it.”

Such extensive travel and interactions with diverse individuals enriched Halbach’s perspective, fostering strong bonds with people. As he traveled regularly to El Gorah, Egypt and Tel-Aviv, he pauses to remember, “I wound up visiting and working in the the Gaza Strip twice a week for two years. We’re very blessed here, in the US.”

Halbach began to learn the bar business by hanging out with military guys at Officer Clubs all over the Middle East. “I talked with and made friends with people,” Halbach says. “We all had something in common, we wanted a place to relax and have a great time—a space to forget about our troubles for a while and feel safe.”

Recalling one particularly tense incident, Halbach describes a standoff with a Russian trawler in the Pacific Ocean when he was in Kwajalein, as part of the Star Wars Defense Initiative. Despite repeated warnings, the vessel remained in unauthorized waters, leading to an order for him to take immediate cover. A missile suddenly struck the trawler.

“It was a direct hit,” Halbach says. “The trawler limped in the water a few days until the Russian Navy came and towed it away. For me, it was a stark reminder of our world’s complexities and how fragile life, or peace can be.”

Post his Middle East engagements, Halbach ventured into the bar industry once he settled back in the US, quickly identifying the potential of the adult nightclub sector. “I then prioritized fostering relationships with local law enforcement and supporting community endeavors,” Halbach says, emphasizing the value of proactive engagement and the knowledge he gained from ACE National board members.

“We’re all part of the same journey. You’re never truly isolated. What happens at a club or to a club owner in one community, impacts us all. We’re in this together, and we should help each other, and we should always be there for our dancers too and staff too.”


– Jim Halbach, ACE National Small Club Owner Liaison

Halbach stresses the importance of community involvement, referencing his own civic contributions and the success stories of peers like Micheal Ocello.

“Mike ran for school board in St. Louis and won,” Halbach says. “Based on Ocello’s example, I decided to run for city council in my town.”

Halbach advocates for the support and resources of organizations like ACE National for small club operators and executives.

“Engage, learn and evolve,” he encourages. “Learn from these people how to do things right, and become a member of ACE.”

In a rare divulgence, Halbach shares his past endeavors in the Middle East and Camp David, emphasizing the spirit of unity.

“We’re all part of the same journey,” he reflects. “You’re never truly isolated. What happens at a club or to a club owner in one community, impacts us all. We’re in this together, and we should help each other, and we should always be there for our dancers too and staff too. I support freedom for everybody and would hope we don’t infringe on our freedoms here in the U.S. like I’ve seen done in a few countries.”

Halbach is an unmistakable presence, often seen gliding through the ED Expo or navigating ACE Meetings in his electric wheelchair—a necessity since the loss of his leg. Inquiring minds, curious about the origins of his injury, often ask him if it was a consequence of his time in the Middle East. Yet, Halbach, with a shake of his head, and a playful glint in his eye, dispels such notions with a wry quip before wheeling away: “Don’t ever swim with alligators!”

For inquiries or to connect with ACE National’s small club liaison, please contact Jim Halbach at 608-208-5078.

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