Showgirls Gallerias Soft Launch
GRAND RAPIDS — Hours after receiving a temporary occupancy permit from the city, The Showgirls Galleria strip club and retail store opened its doors. It had been the subject of a prolonged public debate over the most controversial launch of a business ever in downtown Grand Rapids and the existence of adult entertainment within city limits as a whole.
On its first day, there were fewer than a dozen patrons that had somehow heard about the opening. The sound system wasn't completely installed yet, and a set of home stereo speakers were rigged for the occasion. Beverages were served from a mini-cooler next to the stage.
Nonetheless, it's open.
"I'm going to maintain very few hours, a limited schedule so that I can get it done the way that I want it," said Mark London, proprietor of both the downtown club and the Sensations strip club near Centerpointe Mall. "But I did want to get the word out; quite frankly, it's part of protecting my constitutional rights."
The first stage in a soft launch leading to a full-capacity grand opening at the end of the month, the $4 million renovation of the former Sennett Steel plant at
Slightly different from the soft launches of most every restaurant or bar, London's timetable concerns not just training and logistics, but also the city commission's vote on a controversial city ordinance to regulate adult entertainment.
Written to ban nudity and touching, with several other regulations concerning facilities and operations, the ordinance is the latest development in a two-year battle between
"It'll definitely help us with the opening,"
Such exposure is unusual for adult entertainment, he explained, where marketing is done primarily through sparse advertising and word-of-mouth. Showgirls Galleria, for instance, won't even have a sign when it fully opens. Granted, the building will be hard to miss with its purple and hot-pink exterior.
A matching canopy will be draped over the U at the center of the building, leading into an indoor parking area and
A portion of the club space has been partitioned for use as a buffet.
"There isn't anything comparable this side of
That would be more likely,
When the city rewrote the zoning code after a federal court deemed it unconstitutional, following a lawsuit brought by the Velvet Touch Adult Bookstore, it created an odd Catch-22 for strip clubs: Nudity was a permitted use allowed only in industrial zones, where serving alcohol was not.
"If it comes to this, I hope we go before the same judge,"
"If we get the same attorneys back in the same court in front of the same judge arguing the same exact issues from the Velvet Touch case, that might be enough to set a precedent so that we don't have this type of thing happen again."
The club will employ 35 workers, not including roughly 100 dancers who will not be directly employed by the club.