Neighboring business ‘ok’ with new strip club

A new gentlemen's club, Club 44, is opening this week across the street from Glenbrook Mall.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)-Some Fort Wayne city councilmen are upset about a new strip club in town. They say there’s no room for Club 44 near the Glenbrook Square Mall. However, a woman working at a neighboring business said they are okay with the new establishment.

“I think it really doesn’t affect our business much,” she said. “But some of our customers might not like it because of what kind of club it is.”

This woman didn’t want her name or business to be identified. The business has been open for about 4 years. According to the employee, her business was there when the old Stewie’s was open.

Stewie’s, located at 4030 Coldwater Rd., shut down a year and a half ago. City councilmen hoped that would be the end of it.

“Our ordinances are not strip club friendly,” said Councilman Russ Jehl. “They’re designed to phase this type of use out of commercial areas.”

However, there is a grandfather clause that allows a similar business to reopen in that space as long as the permit is obtained within a year. The club’s new owners quietly did that. Now, Club 44 has taken Stewie’s place.

“The strip club has very good attorneys which made sure they navigated that process and exploited the loophole,” said Jehl.

The LED signs soliciting bartenders, dancers, and servers are drawing a negative reaction among some, but the worker at a nearby business said it’s not so bad.

“Actually, based on what we see from the buildings, they actually look better than Stewie’s,” she said.

City council members said it is too late to shut down Club 44. They are working to figure out how to prevent this from happening again.