The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

East Hartford Residents Fight Planned Strip Club

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — East Hartford residents and the city are fighting a proposal to turn a former Elks lodge into an upscale strip club. The building is zoned for industrial use, next to a storage facility and across the street from several single-family homes in a mostly-commercial neighborhood.

An East Hartford resident said she and her husband live across the street from the site.

"I'm kind of scared of what kind of people will go there," she said. "And it's just going to bring more traffic. And I'm not sure if they're going to have music or if it's going to be loud."

A town statute says that adult-oriented businesses cannot be opened near homes and schools, but the company planning to open the club disagrees and is taking the town to court, claiming it has a constitutional right to open there.

"Constitutionally, you have to have an area of town where that would be allowed, and under our zoning rules, there are a couple of sections where it is allowed," East Hartford mayor Melody Currey said.

Currey said she is confident the town's zoning regulations will stand up in court.

Reporters were not able to reach representatives of the company for comment.

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Elyia Adult Entertainment Ordinance Postponed by Club Lawsuit

ELYRIA Ohio — The city has postponed putting into effect a law that requires adult-oriented businesses to obtain a license while it deals with a lawsuit filed by a club featuring bikini-clad dancers.

The law was passed by the City Council in 2007 and was set to take effect Jan. 1, but the city is delaying enforcement because of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance.

Bugsy’s Speakeasy, the club pursuing the suit, claims that the law blocks the right to free expression by the club and dancers and that it is unfair to force Bugsy’s — which has been in business for about 20 years — to seek a business license that could be denied, forcing the business to close during an appeal.

The law was proposed to keep those with a criminal history of drugs and prostitution away from adult-oriented businesses, and would have given the Elyria police chief the power to conduct criminal background checks on club owners and employees.

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New Lap Dance Salon Upsetting Neighbors

ALBANY, Ore. — Pussycats Private Adult Entertainment, which opened Jan. 2 in Albany, has neighboring owners upset and city officials perplexed as to its legality. Gemini, 20, the shop’s manager, told reporters that for $60 — $30 for the shop and a minimum $30 tip for the entertainer — a customer can purchase a half-hour lap dance.

There is room in the shop for only one show at a time.

Gemini said she has been employed in this type of business for about 18 months, previously in the Portland, Ore., area.

“It’s classier than stripping,” she said. “The clientele act more like gentlemen. They’re not just interested in seeing 36-24-36. They want a connection. Some just want someone to talk to.”

The owners of PermaGrafix Tattoos, located nearby, are not pleased.

“I’m embarrassed that our customers — who include teachers and nurses — will have to see that shop,” one of the owners said said. “I’m worried about the kinds of people who will hang out around there.”

The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that nude dancing is protected as freedom of expression under the Oregon constitution.

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Off-Duty Sheriff Deputy Shoots Alleged Adult Store Robber

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man who was allegedly attempting to rob an adult bookstore in East Memphis on Dec. 29 was shot and critically wounded by an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was in the store.

The suspect, who has not been identified, entered the Fantasy Warehouse of Memphis at about 10 a.m. armed with a handgun, approached the clerk and indicated that he was going to rob the store, according to a Memphis police spokesman.

Gary Gadd, 44, an off-duty Shelby County sheriff’s deputy who was shopping in the store, identified himself to the suspect, who shot at Gadd but missed. Gadd returned fire, hitting the suspect.

None of the other patrons or the clerk was injured.

Police arrived at about 10:20 a.m., and the suspect, in critical condition, was taken to a Memphis hospital.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Shular said Gadd did not violate any department policies by shopping at the bookstore.

“He’s of age and chose to come here to shop,” he said. “During the course of time that he was in the store, he recognized a very dangerous situation and took action.”

Gadd, who has been with the sheriff’s office since 1989, has been administratively relieved of duty with pay pending an investigation of the shooting.

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