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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

They Can’t Go To Strip Clubs, So Strippers Go To Them Private Dancers Take Off In The Conservative Tri-Cities

Associated Press

Finding someone willing to strip for money in the privacy of your home is surprisingly easy in this community, where business leaders, church leaders and others have rallied to close other adult businesses.

“There’s been a real boom in it here in the last year in the Tri-Cities,” said Steve Beegle, who has operated an exotic dance business intermittently for nine years.

The advertisements show that it’s a growth industry here, as well as in more urban communities. On a typical day, as many as 10 classified ads in the Tri-City Herald advertise male or female dancers who make house calls.

One company, which advertised in December with a telephone number that has since been disconnected, even promised topless housekeeping.

The advertisements emphasize that the service is no longer just for bachelor parties and other group events. Most of the growth in the industry is with private individuals, Beegle said.

“It’s not so much in parties, but in what we call one-on-ones. I have no idea why, really,” he said.

This is the same community where a well-organized army of picketers marched in front of a strip club, Exotic City, for the entire five months the club was open. The group declared victory in October 1996 when the owner lost his lease on the downtown Kennewick establishment, shutting down the Tri-Cities’ only topless dancing venue.

Some of the same protesters rallied against Elmo’s when the owners of the adult bookstore tried to relocate from Pasco to Kennewick. The plan to move ended when the property owner backed out of the sale upon learning what the prospective owners planned. Elmo’s, a small, Tacoma-based chain, sued for breach of contract, but eventually dropped the lawsuit.

Beegle isn’t sure how much longer the growth in his industry can last. Already, added competition is hurting his business, he said, and he has considered leaving the Tri-Cities.