• story by Angelina Spencer-Crisp, Executive Director of ACE National
While scanning the newsfeed over the weekend, one story caught my eye. The headline screamed, Fred’s Lounge closes after sudden…
… sudden what?
Fearing the worst, I quickly logged onto one of Montana’s local media outlets and was relieved to discover Jo Kreig, the owner of Fred’s Lounge & Casino in Missoula, MT, is very much alive! She’s decided to retire after more than 40 years in the adult club business. (Note: The club was open for its final day on Saturday, September 25.)
Still, I can’t help but feel a bit sad. Smart, savvy, and possessed of great spirit, she and I connected over the years at the ED Gentlemen’s Club Owner’s EXPO.
At the time, I co-owned a club and leaned on Jo for advice or ideas. She was loaded with intelligence…and a great sense of humor too. We traded war stories of what it was like to work as female owners in this industry.
In Jo’s gentle and knowledgeable way, she always graciously obliged me when I asked about business. We’d share conversation and laughs as she perused through the aisles of the ED Tradeshow, keeping a low profile. (photo: Jo Kreig at the EXPO Tradeshow)
“Fred’s was extremely special,” one dancer said. I echo her sentiment and will add, so too, is Jo Krieg. While I’ll miss Jo’s contribution to the industry, I hope my friend has one hell of a happy and well-deserved retirement. – Spencer
Jo inherited Fred’s Lounge after the death of her husband. The club, located between Missoula and Frenchtown Montana, was a haven and respite for long-haul truckers and provided a multitude of women an option above minimum wage in an area where work can often be sparse.
When asked by a local newspaper what kind of memories Jo had from running the place for so long, she simply said, “both good and bad.”
Krieg confirmed she’s selling her liquor license but she declined at this time to name the buyer.
For many of the dancers at Fred’s, the closure feels sudden and their future uncertain. Yet I have a strong suspicion that these dancers have a bit of frontier spark and resourcefulness of their own, maybe something they learned, in part from Jo, that will enable them to soar.
One dancer told media she considered Fred’s a second home, one she’s lost. While it’s true that switching careers or traveling to new clubs can feel daunting, I can’t help but think “home” isn’t necessarily what we leave behind as much as it is what we bring with us.
Fred’s Lounge was a place of friendship and relaxation, where tired souls sought a break from long hours on the road and the brutal cold. Jo, I’m told, ran one of the cleanest clubs around. It was a place of characters too, like the regular who’d come in with a parrot on his shoulder, or others, including dancers, who made everyone smile.
“Fred’s was extremely special,” one dancer said. I echo her sentiment and will add, so too, is Jo Krieg. While I’ll miss Jo’s contribution to the industry, I hope my friend has one hell of a happy and well-deserved retirement.
Here’s to you, Jo. I shall ‘party on’ and raise a toast in your honor.