The ED Webcon on April 28 served as an open forum for club industry professionals to share concerns, experiences, or ideas around reopening as some states shift toward kick-starting their economies.
Associate publisher Dave Manack first asked Shon Boulden, owner of two Portland clubs, to speak about the rousing success he’s had with his strip club delivery service, Lucky Devil Eats (Editor’s note: Lucky Devil Eats was the subject of a profile in the May issue of ED Magazine).
“We’re no longer a strip club, we’re Hooters on wheels,” Boulden said. He had to learn on the fly—including how to turn entertainers into drivers, responsibly. In addition to having a security detail with the entertainers and insuring everyone, Boulden said it’s a different dynamic than before.
“It’s much more different than being in the club and having customers come to you,” says Boulden. “We have to go to the customer.”
While the entertainers-turned-deliverers may not make as much as their on-stage escapades, Boulden realizes Lucky Devil Eats is a means of employment when countless other clubs (in Oregon and nationwide) are closed.
“It’s not alcohol money, it’s not club money,” said Boulden, “[but] it’s more than minimum wage. The biggest thing for our staff and all the ladies that work for us is it’s a way to stay sane and not worry about where they’re going to try to make money.”
Ultimately Boulden’s story is one that inspires positivity and community when normally media coverage of gentlemen’s clubs is reserved for the morbid or the tawdry.
While some communities gear up for an attempt to return to “normal,” club owners seem to know they will be the last ones to operate fully.
A quick show of hands illustrated most industry professionals believe they’ll open up again in June, leaving May to take care of any necessary duties before reopening.
Boulden surmised clubs would reopen the way they closed, by phasing.
“We’re going to get out of this the way we got into it,” he said.
“It’s not alcohol money, it’s not club money … [but] it’s more than minimum wage.” – Shon Boulden of Lucky Devil Eats
Whenever clubs do get back into the swing of things, questions swirl around the new “normal.”
Do staff and guests wear masks?
The elimination of the lap dance?
More private rooms to encourage social distancing?
And while the industry—like the world—grapples with a return to normalcy, owner Joey Bien realizes this time could prove furtive for industry opponents.
“Let’s hope that some of these groups that don’t like our business aren’t going to use this as a way to keep this six-foot rule in effect going forward or to, even worse, close us down,” Bien said. “We should be very wary of that. We have a standard operating procedure we’ve written out to get our clubs open. The more we make ourselves up ahead of this and differentiate ourselves from other industries—that’s going to be so important on the back end.”