In advance of the Republican and Democratic national conventions, strip clubs in both cities invested in upgrades. WFAE’s Tanner Latham checked whether the investments paid off in this report.
With thousands of conventioneers and other visitors coming into town, David “Slim” Baucom was hoping for a windfall. He owns 7 clubs in the Charlotte area. And before the convention, he invested about $150,000 dollars in cosmetic improvements to attract customers.
But after looking at last week’s books, Baucom says, “It was very very disappointing. We actually grossed less than the weeks leading up to the DNC.”
And it wasn’t any better in Tampa during the Republican convention, says Joe Redner of the Mons Venus club. He also lost money.
“I think Republicans if they were allowed to would have spent plenty time in the clubs,” says Redner. “I don’t think they were allowed to. Everything was orchestrated.”
Both Redner in Tampa and Baucom in Charlotte believe that the convention-goers were so busy with their scheduled activities, they simply chose to bypass the extracurricular ones. Baucom says that the media hype surrounding security checkpoints and traffic delays convinced his regular customers to stay home. He also says that with so many reporters in town, people were probably less willing to take the risk of being seen at an adult club.
Despite soft sales for his clubs in Charlotte, however, Baucom is still proud of how his city presented herself on a national stage.
“So I think a lot of people who was in Charlotte for two or three days, I think they got very good feedback, and I think they’ll look at visiting Charlotte in the future to be a vacation and business trips and whatever,” he says.
And that, he estimates, will pay off for him in the long run in the form of more conventions or large scale events, without as much tight security or as many road closures.
In the short run, Baucom’s happy again, because his regulars began returning as soon as the DNC wrapped up last Thursday.
“Actually our Friday night and Saturday night were actually above normal, because I think they had cabin fevers from staying home all week.”