Gentlemen's Club Owner Sam Stimmel
by Jack Corbett

 

There are too many absentee owners, too many boards of directors running clubs, and too many missed opportunities that leave a club floundering.  But not here.  If anyone is the quintessential forward thinking executive in this business that man's got to be Sam Stimmel.  Some club owners need to spend a few days with him to study what hands on management and hard work is really about.

I nearly put a picture  of myself watching Sam wash dishes.   I don't even remember who was with me on that visit but I will say one thing about Sam and that is many times my friends and I were welcome guests at his place and I'm sure that there were those times when there were too many of us.   But no matter how busy he was, he often cooked for us and stayed up far too late swapping stories.

So what is a topless club owner like?   Depends because club owners are like everyone else.  There are good ones and bad ones.  Men and women who work hard and then there's those who don't and as is the case with most businesses, the price has to be paid at the end of the ride which for them inevitably leads to failure.

Well Sam couldn't or wouldn't do a write up like this and wouldn't pay someone to do it.  He's far too modest for that.  So I just thought I had to tell his story and through him those of the men and women like him. 

The public perception of strip club owners is that they are the devil incarnate.  Well....here's how Sam got his start.   Over ten years ago he was the drummer in a rock band.   One thing led to another until he decided to go into the bar business.   He hired band after band, some of them very good ones.  But often he would just sit there wondering as he shelled out his hard earned dollars to pay off the musicians--------"there's got to be a better way to make a little money."   Too often what he took in from his cover charges didn't pay the cost of hiring the bands performing for his club.   He was stuck, or was he?

Somewhere along the line he had gotten involved with a few wet t shirt contests.   The bar started alternating  between having wet t shirt contests and having a band perform.   The music route didn't pay the bills.  The wet t shirt contests did.   The whole thing was a process of evolution until Sam's club had become a gentlemen's club.   I remember first meeting Sam at a Las Vegas convention for gentlemen's club owners, seeing him shrug his shoulders, then comment to me------"I had no idea I'd ever end up owning a gentlemen's club.  Now ten years later it still surprises me."

So what's this club owner like?  To start with he's a short wiry man with a ready smile---not the kind with the evil grin that says---"I'm out to take you."  Instead, the complete opposite....a look about him that reflects the kindly fatherly type.   "Aha," you might reply...."All window dressing.  He's gotta be different than that."

"No way."   I judge a man or woman by their actions---giving little weight to what they say.  What I see is a man who works far harder than most, usually making do on only four hours of sleep a night.   He's constantly going back and forth between his home and his club.   His inquisitive mind seems always on the lookout for a new angle---a way to save money or a different means of promoting his business.   He's always willing to listen, hoping for fresh ideas, open to new ways of doing things.  

More than any other club owner I've met, he seems to view his operation as a kind of partnership between his employees or dancers and himself.   He spends long hours driving his dancers to other clubs and contests but when you discuss it with him his face invariably breaks into a smile as he talks about how his dancers did.   It is about more than the club owner who employs dancers who do well in the contests.   Sure--that's part of it but the smile tells you he's happy for the girl who's successful performances might enhance her career.

At other times one senses in him great sadness---a disappointment with a girl who's made the wrong choices in life.   The girl who can't seem to break an alcohol or abusive man problem.  Or whose bad work habits  are keeping success out of  her grasp. 

Stimmelators is located in North Webster, Indiana.   Perhaps that's why this club owner's so approachable, so true to his word, and so hospitable to all his guests whether they are in his club or visiting his home.  Or is it his background as a musician, the ex rock and roll band drummer who found himself through the odd twists and turns of fate the owner of a gentlemen's club, surprised at where he's finally turned up, but still the same as he has always been?  

 

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