Franklin County, Massachusetts’ only strip club, Club Castaway, is getting creative with its reopening strategy.

Owners Nick Spagnola and Julius Sokol were running Club Castaway briefly before the state issued an emergency order to close non-essential businesses in March 2020. Of course, the COVID closure lasted longer than expected, and when the state reopened businesses in May of 2021, the club needed an update, and so far has yet to reopen its doors.

Spagnola and Sokol appeared before their city’s Selectboard Thursday evening to announce their long-term business plan for Castaway: to replace the dancing and alcohol of their typical strip club with “what could possibly be the nation’s first-ever topless pot dispensary,” according to the Greenfield Recorder, a local news source.

“There are a lot of dispensaries open and you need a niche to be successful,” explains Spagnola, “We’re leaning toward cannabis with a twist.”

The plan is to amend the club’s still-active adult entertainment and alcohol licenses entirely, running with the marijuana license, exclusively, and to exchange dancing for topless service. Several steps will need to be taken to shift to a cannabis dispensary before the new business can establish itself, especially with the unprecedented feature of topless bud-tenders.

To start, Sokol (who has Cannabis Control Commission licenses for dispensaries in eastern Massachusetts) and Spagnola are purchasing the license of an existing marijuana dispensary down the (85 State) road, Shine Diamond LLC. The business partners need to file a change of location request with the state CCC, reports the Greenfield Recorder. If approved, Club Castaway will need to explain its building use change to the Zoning Board of Appeals, as well.

“It could certainly be a little mellower,” Selectboard member Julianna Waggoner comments, considering the quiet county had some reservations about the club as it was.

“We do have some experience on the cannabis side and some on the nudity side,” Spagnola says encouragingly, adding that he hopes to bring “cannabis tourism” to town.

Selectboard Chair Joyce Palmer-Fortune thanked the Castaway owners for updating the town on their business plans and noted there are “a lot of legal questions” still to discuss. Fellow Selectboard m

ember Fred Baron says they can review the requirements when “we have firmer plans” to work with.

Club Castaway, which has been closed since March 2020, expects to reopen within the next two months as a strip club. If approved as a topless dispensary by all the necessary parties, the transition will begin immediately.

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