DETROIT – How bad are things around the Motor City? So bad that even Jon Jon's Cabaret is offering half-off deals.
The topless club in the suburb of Warren — where General Motors and Chrysler employ upwards of 20,000 people — cut the cost of a table dance in half, from $20 to $10, in mid-November. The dancer gets all the money plus any tips, while food and drinks generate the club's income, general manager Kelly Sander said Tuesday.
Jon Jon's has lowered prices on drinks, but business is still down 50 percent from a year ago, Sander said. She now opens the club at 6 p.m. instead of 11 a.m.
"People can't afford to go out and have fun the way they used to," said Sander, whose club on Mound Road is located roughly halfway between GM's Technical Center and the GM Powertrain and Chrysler pickup truck assembly plants. "Of course it has to do with the economy."
The price cut in table dances, in which dancers perform at or on the patron's table, gave business a bit of a boost, Sander said, but added: "The regulars still come in but they don't stay as long. We do what we have to do keep going."
For Sander, that included pink-slipping one of her managers, who had worked 24 years for the club. "Everybody's in a pinch," she said. "I've got to make some cuts. It doesn't matter what kind of business it is."
Others adult-oriented businesses haven't been immune from the region's economic sickness, either. The Greektown Casino in downtown Detroit is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the MGM Grand Detroit hotel and casino laid off several dozen employees in October.
Unemployment in Detroit and its closest suburbs, including Warren, was 8.8 percent in October, up from 8.3 percent in September.
Business has been unpredictable at the Booby Trap, a strip club on 8 Mile Road in Detroit, general manager Brian Klinec said.
"We're holding our own, let's put it that way," he said. "You've got your good nights and your bad nights. There are more bad nights. It's tough. People don't have disposable income right now."
Cheap drinks and football on TV remain big draws, Klinec said, but he expected more uncertainty in the near future: "After Jan. 1, everybody's got their bills to pay from the holidays."