(Note: This story appears in the March 2022 issue of ED Magazine)
Chris Marshall’s first foray into the adult nightclub industry was in security — since then, he’s rocketed up the promotional ladder to VP of Operations with The Library.
After working at several “non-adult” nightclubs in the Bay Area, when Chris Marshall moved to Southern California in 2001, he applied at several nightclubs. He landed a job doing security at his first adult nightclub, the original The Library Club in Lake Forest. Twenty-one years later, Marshall has moved up the ladder and is now The Library Clubs’ VP of Operations.
ED Magazine’s Larry Kaplan spoke with Chris about his career ascension.
ED: How and when did you get into the adult nightclub business?
MARSHALL: When I started, the club was losing a GM and transitioning, and David was about to take over as GM. And then, as things when went down the line, I just worked my way up to manager and then GM. And then, when that club was closed, I worked for Jerry Westlund for about a year doing operations. Then, when David was hired to manage what was then the Westminster Hustler Club, I left Jerry on good terms and went to work with David again. David ended up taking that club over, and it is now the Westminster The Library Club.
ED: Is there a quality or qualities you think you’ve acquired or refined working with David that’s helped you be better at your job?
MARSHALL: Absolutely. David teaches a lot. His model is that we need to evolve with everything constantly. And we make a great team. One of the things I think makes us good in this business is that we’re changing the quality of the club. If someone else has a nicer club, we do something to make ours nicer. That’s the most important thing. To stay alive, you’ve got to change. Nightclubs, in general, have a 10-year shelf life. If you don’t change it and make it new, nobody will want to go there. So we’re constantly evolving with the clientele.
ED: What are some advantages of working for a company with four clubs?
MARSHALL: You become more confident as you grow. You become more well-versed at your game and ways to play it. Overall, the team’s gotten very good at what we do. We put together good clubs; we don’t just put some paint on the walls. We put time and effort into the clubs and try to make them look nice. And we try to make everyone that works for us feel like they’re part of a family and not a big company. And that’s probably the hardest thing to maintain as we grow — that family-type environment. I’m sure if you ask anybody that’s worked for the company, they would all tell you the same thing: It’s like working for a family.
ED: What’s the best part of your job? And what’s the most challenging part?
MARSHALL: The best part of my job is getting to work with my best friend every day. There are many different challenging things but nothing in particular that I can focus on.
ED: What’s one aspect of your job that’s an unexpected reality, an obligation or responsibility you wouldn’t have fathomed before becoming a GM and now VP of Operations that’s now become second nature to you.
MARSHALL: Interacting with dancers. Working in a club is one thing; you deal with customers, security, and bar staff. Then you throw a bunch of girls in the mix, and it could change things. So it takes a lot of patience all around.
ED: If you had other club GMs and operations people in a room and could share a piece of advice, what would you like to tell them?
MARSHALL: Become a utility. That’s like the one thing people ask all the time, how do you become a better manager? Or, if you’re not a manager, how do you become a manager? How do you get involved in the club? And that’s exactly it. You get involved in the club; you learn how to do everything in the club.
Larry Kaplan has for 21 years been the Legal Correspondent for ED Publications. In addition, Mr. Kaplan is a business broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult retail stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313-815-3311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.