JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The Future of The Lollipop Lounge, a popular strip club in the heart of Randburg, Joburg, is hanging in the balance as the owners consider selling it as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The strip club opened its doors for the first time in 2004. Former erotic dancer for about 15 years, Perle van Schalkwyk – known by her stage name “Gigi” – opened up the Lollipop Lounge with her business partner and husband Mike Crole.
“We’ve got staff that have been with us since day one… We’ve come a long road and many dancers and young girls were provided with jobs,” Van Schalkwyk told The Star.
Van Schalkwyk said that since the coronavirus pandemic started, the 15-year-old club has fallen on hard times financially, which forced the owners to consider selling.
In a listing posted on Property24 seen by The Star, the 765-metre square iconic club was placed on sale with price on application.
“We are trying to feel for the market and trying to feel if anybody was interested in buying… We’ve had many people who are interested in buying the place, but they must put their money where their mouth is,” she said.
Van Schalkwyk said the club has fallen on “crazy times” because they are only permitted to reopen during level one of the lockdown.
“I have so many staff members working for me and staff members that rely on that business and, in this whole lockdown, we’ve had no help from the banks. We had to use our own private money to get us through, to keep the building going and pay for insurance and electricity. I lost about R80 000 in stock, because of the constant power failures, so we’ve had really bad luck,” she said.
One of the club’s dancers, Savanna (stage name) said that “no work, no pay” applied to dancers and that she hadn’t been making an income since March. She added that she has relied on her partner financially for the last six months.
“If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t know what would happen to me because she puts food on the table and we just moved into a bigger place. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know,” she said.
Another dancer, Lola (stage name), said the last few months have been difficult for her, because she wasn’t making an income and one of her children also lost his job during the lockdown.
“I’ve got two kids and I could not help them with their rent at home. I am in debt like crazy and I have to pay that back.
“I was lucky that there’s an old gentleman living in my building and I brought him his food, so he’s been supporting me with food,” she said.
Van Schalkwyk said that she was hoping that the national lockdown curfew at 10pm would be lifted soon because the club was busiest from 10pm onwards and she was hoping to reopen again on September 15.
“We normally trade from 6pm to 2am and my busiest times are from 10pm onwards. To open up a strip club – where my staff must go home and I must start cleaning up at 10pm, how is that going to work for us?” she asked.