Franklin Township's eastern edge faces the bright lights of the Hollywood Casino, along with a new set of flashy lights - those promoting the rebirth of a strip club.
Franklin Township’s eastern edge faces the bright lights of the Hollywood Casino, along with a new set of flashy lights — those promoting the rebirth of a strip club.
The Road House has taken the place of the Candy Store strip club at 333 Georgesville Rd. One longtime community activist says the club is tarnishing what was supposed to be a new era of growth after the opening of the casino.
“That was not what we had in mind,” said Dewey Stokes, a township resident and former Franklin County commissioner. “The strip club kind of smacks you in the face as something the majority of the community wouldn’t agree with. That’s not the image you want when you’re trying to rejuvenate an area.”
But a contractor who has been helping remodel the Road House described the business as classy and safe.
“They want to tie it to Vegas, like it’s Sin City,” said the worker, who declined to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak for the club.
The all-nude club, which opened about a month ago, is open from 5 p.m. to midnight. Alcohol is prohibited. Security cameras and lights abound. And its “quieter, calmer atmosphere” is different from most other strip clubs’, the worker said.
The business is owned by Sherri Dulebohn, who didn’t return calls. Court records show her having several tax liens in Ohio and South Carolina for the businesses Fall in Love and Teddy’s.
Signs out front advertise “Get in Free with OSU Gear” and promote hunting season. The website this week prominently displayed the Hollywood Casino logo, implying a connection between the two. A casino spokesman said casino management has requested that its logo be removed from the Road House website.
Tom Edvin, fixing up the adjacent MetroWest apartments, doesn’t want the club nearby, he said. “ Our main focus is to attract families. It’s very hard to do that when you have adult entertainment next door.”
Abdisalan Mohamud, owner of the 99 cents Plus Superstore, agrees: “It is not good for this business.”
An undercover Columbus police officer drove by yesterday, hoping to gain information on the new owner.
The Candy Store attracted gang members, “some of our more violent citizens,” said the officer, who didn’t want his identity known for security reasons. “It was a powder keg.” The Candy Store closed about eight months ago. Authorities, including township police and the sheriff’s office, reported an above-average number of incidents there, including fights, disturbances and alcohol abuse.
Stokes chided township trustees for not doing more to stop the club’s reopening.
Township officials said there wasn’t much they could do.
“We lawfully cannot stop adult-entertainment venues from operating, especially those already zoned for that use,” Tim Guyton, the chairman of the board of trustees, said in an email. “We have not had any issues that I am aware of with the Candy Store business.”