The XBIZ Weekly Retail Round-Up

Tod Hunter

City Council Votes Down Flesh Club Liquor License Again

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The Flesh Club, once an all-nude venue, lost its appeal Tuesday to secure a liquor license and reopen as a topless bar.

San Bernardino City Council members turned down a renewed attempt by the club, despite claims that allowing the business a liquor license would make its dancers more likely to obey state and city laws.

Council members voted 6-0, with one member absent because he is attending the Republican National Convention.

The city's decision to uphold the planning commission's earlier denial of a liquor license was anticipated, said Roger Jon Diamond, an attorney representing the club.

But the Flesh Club must make every effort to seek a liquor license to prepare the strongest case possible for future litigation, Diamond told City Council members prior to their unanimous decision to uphold the denial.

In July, the council denied the Flesh Club's application for a "Determination of Public Convenience or Necessity," a finding that the club legally must secure before it can receive a liquor license and reopen as a topless bar.

The future of the club, located in a family oriented business district, has been in doubt since last fall when San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Donald Alvarez ordered the business to cease all adult-oriented activities for eight months.

The order expired July 14.

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Tae Kwon Do Studio Worried About Proposed Adult Store

MARYVILLE, Tenn. — David Church, owner of David Church's Tae Kwon Do America, is worried about an adult store moving nest door to his studio.

"Taekwondo is essential to teaching children they are in control," Church said. "Obviously, we're concerned for their safety and we're concerned for their parents when they have to answer some awkward questions."

Church's facility serves 75 students total, 55 of whom are minors or children.

Deborah Yantis of Loudon wants to open All Day All Nite Fantasy Delites Her city application said she'll rent and sell adult movies and DVDs along with adult magazines and novelties.

"There are no windows in our facility," Yantis said during a phone interview. "If someone walks into our store they will not be looking at any merchandise."

The landlord of the complex, Dan Williams, also said kids won't be effected.

"They're not suppose to be back here and the only thing they'd see is a sign," Williams said.

Maryville City Attorney Melanie Davis said an establishment like Tae Kwon Do America is not protected under a local ordinance that mandates a 1,000-foot space between adult businesses and some facilities. She feels like the city will have to accept the application, because the city ordinance is currently too restrictive and could cause a lawsuit.

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Strip Club OK'd Outside Mills

MILLS, Wyo. — Casper businessman Sonny Pilcher has received a conditional-use permit from the Natrona County Commission to open a strip club west of Mills.

Questions about granting the permit to Pilcher arose during a commission work session on Tuesday. County Attorney Eric Nelson said the commission had little basis on which to deny the permit, thanks to vague legal language and First Amendment rights. Adult entertainment is protected freedom of speech.

Conditional-use permits are reviewable at the pleasure of the commission, Nelson said. If an establishment becomes a detriment to the health, safety and welfare of the people, the commissioners could decide to review or revoke the permit.

The county also has some statutory restriction rights on exterior signs and layout of the interior for adult entertainment establishments. Planning and Zoning Commission recommendations for the facility will include some of those restrictions, Nelson said.

Pilcher argued in his letter to commissioners that denial of the permit to operate the business as an adult club could lead to additional problems at the establishment.

"I believe that incidents in a gentlemen's club will be much less than operating as a country or hard rock-n-roll bar, which I would have to become if this application is denied," Pilcher wrote.

Sheriff Mark Benton, whose deputies have assisted the Mills and Casper police departments on some calls to Pilcher's existing bars, said he can't dispute that a "gentlemen's club" would have fewer calls, noting that the other "gentlemen's club" in the county rarely experiences problems.

"It would be the tone that Mr. Pilcher and his employees take that's going to make or break the program," Benton said.

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Adult Retailers Take Issue With Protesters

WAGGA WAGGA, New South Wales — The owners of Simply Risque have hit back at claims they will contribute to the moral decay of their street if they are allowed to publicly display their products.

Director Ian Conway-Powles said yesterday the community should be more concerned about the safety of children going to church than those seeing lingerie on display.

“We are an adult retail store, not a sex shop as we have been described. We sell adult products, not sex. If you want to buy sex, go to a brothel,” he said.

Two local parents have urged concerned citizens to lodge applications against the proposal by Tuesday.

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Strippers Take Issue With Politicians

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario — At a press conference outside a Mississauga strip club yesterday, adult entertainment industry leaders said they think a law that essentially bans foreign strippers should be an issue during the next federal election campaign.

"I am completely appalled that Diane Finley [federal immigration minister], as a woman, is not supporting women," said Sheena De Janeiro, a former dancer and now co-owner of the Airport Strip Club on Torbram Rd. in Malton. "What is she trying to say? That this is not a good opportunity for women?"

The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, which hosted the conference outside the Treasures strip club on Atlantic Dr., denounced the new legislation, which they say is killing their business.

Treasures, the largest strip club in Canada, needs from 80 to 100 dancers a night, said owner Scott Kurtzman. Last night, they had 42.

"People don't come if they see the same faces," he said.

The law in question, Bill C-17, is unconstitutional and would be defeated in court, Toronto lawyer Morris Manning said.

Responding to Manning's comments, Tim Vail, spokesperson for Minister Finley, wrote in an email: "We believe the bill (C-17) is constitutional. Bill C-17 legislation is clearly designed to help prevent the exploitation and abuse of foreign workers, such as strippers."

Until 1974, foreign strippers had their visas fast-tracked to Canada. In 2004, foreign strippers got 423 work permits and extensions. By 2006, the number was down to 17.

The Adult Entertainment Association called on its members, employees and clubgoers to vote against Conservative Party candidates over the issue in an election that is expected for Oct. 14.

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