Portland finds a way. Close down her strip clubs, and dancers will do delivery.
That’s what’s happening at the Lucky Devil Lounge at 633 S.E. Powell Blvd. The club was forced to close with Gov. Kate Brown’s mandate to stem the spread of coronavirus, but the order does allow food establishments to offer take-out or delivery.
And thus was born club owner Shon Boulden’s newest business: Boober Eats.
The home delivery service, in which a pair of scantily clad strippers will deliver hot food to your door, started as a joke Boulden posted on social media. When people began seriously inquiring about orders, Boulden saw potential.
So, while the rest of Portland was hoarding toilet paper and pasta, he bought out one local store’s stock of pasties.
From 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., Boober Eats is offering the full menu from the Lucky Devil Lounge at the same prices. Delivery rates are generally $30, but vary depending on distance from the lounge.
“If someone wants to give us a couple hundred bucks to go to the coast, we’ll do it as long as the girls are taken care of,” Boulden said.
All dancers are driven and escorted by a security guard. And there’s at least one rule that carries over from the strip club to a pandemic – no touching the dancers.
Strippers are like hairstylists or tattoo artists, in that they usually “book” a space to do their work and are considered independent contractors rather than employees. That means they typically aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits.
“It became very real when all this happened,” said one of the dancers, who goes by the stage name Olivia. “Dancers work for tips and tips only.”
Boulden has about 80 dancers between Lucky Devil and another club, Devil’s Point, which he co-owns.
“They’re all like, ‘hey, what do we do?’ I said, ‘let me figure something out,’ and this is my solution," he said.
Even with deliveries, many of the dancers doing Boober runs have gone from making several hundred dollars a night to earning close to minimum wage.
“Losing this job is devastating,” said Kiki, who started her first Boober shift Friday. “For the majority of us, it’s been an almost complete loss of income. I’m here supporting my community and trying to keep maintaining an income flow as best as we can.”
Boulden said he’s trying to employ as many people as possible during the club’s shut down. The kitchen staff are cooking orders. Security guards are driving dancers to deliveries. Bartenders are now working the phones and maintaining social media.
“It’s crazy,” Boulden said. “We mutated our one business into a totally different style of business.”