Expectations of success outstripped

GLENN Millhouse was told his new strip club wouldn't last six months.

After all, similar venues in Launceston had always failed, while many said the venue and its risque advertising were a slight on the city's family-friendly image.

It has now been 16 months, with the furore long subsiding, and Mr Millhouse says business is booming at Launceston Showgirls. 

``All that racket worked in our favour really,'' the 56-year-old said.

``I think we got about 80 articles in The Examiner over it. 

``Great publicity for a new business.''

Mr Millhouse spent a reported $150,000 since December 2012 to transform the venue known as The Hub into a 1930s-themed cabaret bar with strippers and private booths for controlled touching. 

The former car rental mogul said he had more than made his money back before the end of the financial year, drawing an average 150 patrons over Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights each week.    

``We've not only survived, but set a precedent for how a venue like this should be operated in a regional city.

``The place that used to be here, The Hub, they were trying to do too much.

``There were strippers one night, a night for gay people the next . . . you've got to focus on one thing and do it well.''

Mr Millhouse said he now employed a dozen people - including eight strippers - with  university students among the performers.

He said Hawthorn AFL game days were easily the busiest nights of the year, while a group of regulars had made Launceston Showgirls their bar of choice. 

The opening of the club, however, was not without its opponents.

Mayor Albert van Zetten publicly voiced his disapproval in January 2013, while Alderman Danny Gibson campaigned to remove an ``open'' sign that featured scantily clad cover girl Isabelle Deltore. 

Mr Millhouse said the strongest opposition came from ``minority'' religious groups.

``But they all backed off. At the end of the day, we're adults. It's the 21st century, for God's sake. 

``Hollywood portrays these places as a den of iniquity. It's not like that.

``I run a tight ship. I attract an adult crowd. It's not a kiddie bar. It doesn't attract the teenagers who want to punch on with each other.

``My employees are treated with respect and they are here because they want to be here.''

Mr Millhouse said he had received very few complaints from patrons and staff - and he said he enjoyed a good relationship with police.

``We've got cameras everywhere - people know they can't misbehave.

``You're safer here than a lot of other establishments, because there is an understanding that you can't get away with being a d---head.'' 

Mr Millhouse has also renewed his presence in Hobart, reopening the historic Hope and Anchor Hotel nearly 40 years after he established the city's first gay and lesbian club, The Lunch Box. 

``(The Hope and Anchor) is a bloody beautiful place,'' he said. 

``You think MONA is good? You should see some of the stuff we've got on the walls.''

 Email adruce@examiner.com.au

Twitter @AlexDruce1987

Glenn Millhouse says business is booming at Launceston Showgirls. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

Glenn Millhouse says business is booming at Launceston Showgirls. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON


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