Strip clubs didn't see expected RNC boost

Posted at 1:51 AM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-23 11:47:55-04

Promises of cash pouring in from the Republican National Convention never materialized for bars, restaurants or even strip clubs.

Frank Spencer is the president of Crazy Horse strip club on 14th and St. Clair in downtown Cleveland.

He blames the lack of business on corporate sponsors pulling out ahead of the RNC.

"It's not the people in the convention hall that make the convention," Spencer said. "It's the corporate sponsors that have the parties, plus the lobbysists. Those are actually the movers and shakers that cause the business to happen."

As more and more sponsors pulled out.. Spencer said they lowered their expectations -- and staffing.

Despite that, he says they saw a 20 percent boost in business this week, but a serious lack of locals.

It was the same story for strip clubs all around Cleveland, which is why Kala and Lily took it upon their own tiny T-Rex hands to come up with creative advertising.

Dressed in inflatable dinosaur costumes, the pair trotted around downtown to entice RNC visitors to visit Diamond Men's Club in the Flats.

"There's such a stigma on gentlemen's clubs, so this really makes it fun and more lighthearted," Kala Humphrey said.

The owner of Diamond's said business wasn't bad -- but it wasn't great. They stocked up on alcohol that will keep through the summer. 

Christie's Cabaret also said it was mostly business as usual, with their regular customers swapped out for visitors. 

But while Clevelanders may not have seen the cash -- some outsiders did.

We caught Chicago-based vendor Devantae Williams packing up to head to Philadelphia.

He's been selling his shirts and buttons at conventions in Denver and Charlotte said this was his first Republican one.

His take?

"Actually Democrats spend more money than Republicans," Williams said, laughing.