Strip club on target to open soon

Hiring set to begin this week for club at the home of adult video and retail business

rboone@theolympian.comJanuary 30, 2014 

Olympia’s first strip club is expected to open in less than 15 days, the owner said Wednesday, and he expects 80 people, including exotic dancers, to apply for jobs at the business Thursday and Friday.

The new strip club also is the current home of an adult video and retail business called Desire, formerly known as Desire Video, owner Levi Bussanich said.

A name for the strip club hasn’t been determined just yet, he said, although it will play off the Desire name.

A hiring announcement was found Wednesday on Craigslist, seeking applicants for all positions, including wait staff, management, DJs and exotic dancers.

The ad encourages those who think they have “what it takes to be part of the hottest spot from Portland to Seattle” to apply in person between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Desire is at 3200 Pacific Avenue.

Bussanich has operated an adult business in that area of Pacific Avenue since 1997 and has been in his current building since 2001. He has tried to bring other businesses there, including a WinCo Foods, and once pitched a plan for a “sex emporium” at the same site.

He also operated several other adult video businesses that have been sold, he said, so he can concentrate on the Olympia business.

The rise of the Internet has hurt the adult rental business, and he said he thinks he has a competitive advantage in Olympia because the nearest strip clubs are in Tacoma and Portland.

After Bussanich pitched a plan for a sex emporium, he said he received some strongly worded mail against it. The community has been more accepting of the strip club, he said.

Bussanich, 49, said inquiries about the business began in August after an Olympian story on his initial plans.

“People have found me by whatever means, waiting for me to open,” he said.

Olympia principal planner Steve Friddle said Bussanich’s business is an allowed use for the area. It is at least 330 feet from residential use, a daycare and a preschool, and is at least 1,320 feet from a public park, primary/secondary school or college, public trail, place of worship and library.

A tour of the new club Wednesday showed it has an elevated dancer’s stage, customer seating, an elevated VIP area, space for a DJ, a juice bar, and a changing room and separate bathroom for the dancers.

State law does not allow alcohol to be served, so the juice bar will serve soda and other fountain drinks. Most of the jobs will pay minimum wage, he said, although the dancers are treated as independent contractors. They pay to rent space, he said, and then earn income from tips.

He expects to hire 20 to 25 full-time employees and expects 150 to 200 dancers to be on rotation within three months, or about eight to 10 dancers per shift, with more on the weekends.

The business will operate 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily and weekends, he said. Bussanich also expects to have events in which male dancers would perform.

He pitched his idea for a strip club, or what he called a “cabaret,” to Olympia city officials in August.

Submitted drawings then showed space for a performance platform that would be raised by 36 inches and include a barrier six feet from the edge of the stage, both of which meet city code.

City Code regulates adult cabarets, stipulating building and operation specifications and standards of conduct and operation “applicable to adult-oriented businesses.”

For example, dancers are “not permitted to appear nude or seminude except on stage.”

Another example: “No entertainer shall be visible from any public place outside the premises during the actual or apparent hours of his/her employment or performance on the premises.”

Comments on The Olympian Facebook page Wednesday about the strip club ranged from anger, to those surprised so many were upset, to those looking forward to it, to one person who planned to apply.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

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