John Wang/iStock/Thinkstock(SEWARD, Neb.) — A possible chain of juice-bar strip clubs is causing a stir in Seward, Nebraska, where opponents find the reported business plan tasteless.
Shane Harrington, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based pornography site operator for the last 14 years, has set his sights on opening three strip clubs along Interstate 80 and is marketing his ventures as alcohol- and drug-free environments that will serve fresh juices alongside adult entertainment.
But some locals say the possible businesses would go against the family-focused nature of the community.
“I don’t mean any ill will against Mr. Harrington. He has a legal right to make money how he pleases,” the Rev. Andrew Ratcliffe, a pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Nebraska, told ABC News. “But from the pastoral side and as a family-based community, we’re trying to defend the value of women and to preserve the family-based aspect of the community.”
Ratcliffe was one of more than 20 people who attended a Seward County Planning and Zoning Board meeting Monday night, then raised objections to reporters outside the meeting about the idea of all-nude juice bars after learning the matter wasn’t on the board’s agenda.
The reason it was left off: Harrington hasn’t actually purchased any property for his bars or applied for a zoning application.
The 39-year-old entrepreneur told ABC News he is considering locations in Seward and Grand Island, Nebraska, and a possible third location between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska.
“I went in a month ago to a zoning meeting saying that I found a location I really liked and was interested in opening this type of business. It was a very unofficial conversation, but word spread fast and over a 30-day span now there are church groups picketing,” he said. “Nebraska is a very Leave It To Beaver, Bible-belt place.”
Harrington told ABC News he is currently eyeballing a 13,000-square-foot space that formerly housed a dinosaur museum, which officials told him was one of the only locations they would consider for the project.
“It’s far removed from churches, far from town,” Harrington said. “I’m actually against strip clubs being in towns where kids can ride their bikes past them. I want to be on the outskirts, where there is nobody around.”
Harrington added that his adult entertainment company already has an established customer base in the area.
“We do a record number of bachelor parties, birthday parties, private parties in Seward County with dancers who have appeared on our site,” Harrington said.
Responses on the business owner’s Facebook page supported that statement, with users writing, “I live in Seward and I support ya,” and, “You have my support.”
Because his businesses won’t serve alcohol, patrons will get more eye candy for their money, Harrington said.
“With a juice bar you can do full nude and actually touch the girls,” he said, adding that when a strip club’s bar serves liquor, pasties and panties are required and guests must stay six inches from the entertainers.
The Seward County Planning and Zoning Board did not immediately respond to an inquiry on whether Harrington’s understanding of the no-alcohol rules were correct, or to say whether or not there were existing strip clubs in the area.
Should he pursue the former museum space, Harrington estimated that he will be up and running his juice-themed gentleman’s club within three months.
“We will open a second location three months after that and then wait a year before opening a third to make sure we’re not over-saturating the market,” he said. “But we’re opening whether they like it or not.”
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