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Thursday, July 19, 2012

NIGHT BUSINESS AND SEX: Pubs, clubs in B.C. call in exotic dancers to boost customers


British Columbia bars are turning to strippers to entice patrons to come back.It's a tough time to be a proprietor of a local watering hole in B.C. Between a slouching economy, tough anti-drinking and driving laws, indoor smoking bans and lower sales than ever before, it's enough to make you want to just take off.
Take it all off, apparently.
Local business owners attempted to boost slow sales this summer by calling in strippers, The Province reports. The move, while faced with strong opposition from some local residents, is one that is seen as benefiting both the entertainers and the bar owners.
"Sales are down drastically and we're looking for a change," said Dale Stephenson, bar manager of Ma Miller's Pub on Vancouver Island, to The Province.
Last month, Ma Miller's prepared to have strippers performing at the pub daily in order to draw more of a crowd. The pub, which has been around since the 1930s, is just one of several in the province that turned to unconventional entertainment amidst low sales. Bars in Nanaimo and other parts of Vancouver Island are also trying the strategy.
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The move is directly opposite to the approach taken by Saskatchewan, which is the only province that prohibits serving alcohol where strippers are performing. The lack of alcohol, according to National Post columnist Jesse Kline, has lead to strip clubs going out of business as a result of this law, because a strip club without alcohol isn't as profitable.
Unfortunately for Stephenson, the local opposition to his plan overwhelmed his attempt to improve business again. Ma Miller's was preparing to debut strippers on June 20, but on June 19, the Times-Colonist reports that Stephenson's five year contract managing the pub was cancelled.
"They didn't want this type of entertainment in the building," said building owner Tony Piga to the Times-Colonist.
But other B.C. bar owners remain hopeful that people will want to drink again if there is nudity involved. Women working as strippers are excited about the move, too. Their industry has taken its share of hits in recent years in B.C.
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In the Vancouver area alone there used to be more than two dozen strip clubs, The Province reports. Now, there is only a handful left. But bars and pubs welcoming exotic dancers into their establishments is creating new opportunities for out-of-work strippers, preventing them moving into less safe careers.
"When strip clubs close we worry they (the strippers) may be forced to work in the sex trade," said Annie Temple, former stripper and business promoter for nakedtruth.ca, to The Province.
While this might seem like a match made in heaven, expect to hear plenty of complaints in the coming months from critics who object to strippers and pubs becoming fast bosom buddies.
Story was updated at 2:30 p.m.

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