Despite rumors, no strip clubs in DickinsonConsistently, one of the top searches found on The Dickinson Press website consists of two words: “strip club.”
By: Bryan Horwath, The Dickinson Press
Consistently, one of the top searches found on The Dickinson Press website consists of two words: “strip club.”
Located on the southern edge of the bustling western North Dakota Oil Patch where there is an attractive business climate and an abundance of blue collar workers, Dickinson would seem a dream city for an entrepreneur to open an exotic dancing establishment.
But don’t expect such a place to pop up here anytime soon, said Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel.
“This idea surfaces with frequency,” Kessel said Monday. “It’s a business model that the city has gone to great lengths to avoid.”
Kessel said the city can’t simply ban such establishments, but it can make it less attractive a place for potential strip club owners to do business.
“I think our community would have a hard time having an establishment like that,” Kessel said. “What we did is we proactively changed our ordinance so that strip clubs are not eligible for a liquor license and we restricted the locations where they can be built. Hopefully, these things deter strip clubs from coming to Dickinson.”
In order for a lounge to be opened in Dickinson, it would have to be located in what would likely be considered an unattractive site, such as an industrial park. Without a liquor license, it would be difficult for a club to make enough profit, although Kessel pointed out that an under-21 business model would potentially be feasible.
Although it’s located deeper in the heart of the Bakken, Williston — which is similar in size to Dickinson, yet growing more rapidly — currently is home to two of only a small handful of strip clubs in the state. The manager of one of the Williston strip clubs, who did not want to be identified, said business is good and that the Oil Patch could likely support more such establishments.
“Business can be hit or miss depending on the number of oil rigs and factors, but, overall, it’s good,” he said. “The girls in the industry know this is a place where they can come and make money. It all depends on the night, but on Sunday, we had 10 dancers make at least a thousand dollars.”
In a city like Dickinson, which is trying to balance prosperity and rapid growth while also keeping its “Western Edge” charm and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s safe to say that it would be quite challenging for anyone to open an exotic dancing lounge.
“It’s just not something I would welcome,” said Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson. “Part of our planning process when it started to get busier was to put certain protections in place and I think the city has done a good job with those measures.”
Although he said he hasn’t seen a concrete proposal for a strip club in about 18 months, Kessel still hears rumors, which are not uncommon in this Bakken boom town.
“If such an establishment is opened in this area, I don’t think it will be in Dickinson,” Kessel said.