Church moves into former strip club

Shoreline residents can now enjoy cups of coffee and conversation in the building formerly occupied by a strip club.(Photo: Reuters)

The Bethany Community Church has given the old Sugars strip club a makeover, turning it into a wholesome location where anyone can relax with a cup of coffee, meet with friends and grab a bite to eat.

The church last year made the decision to lease the old building, which was a popular strip club that went up for auction when its owner, adult entertainment mogul Frank Colacurcio Sr. went to prison.

The owners were looking for a new tenant who could turn the place around and opted to go straight to the church to offer the property lease instead of looking for the highest bidder. He said he did not regret his decision.

"It was a place where women were exploited. And that's something that we wanted to change," said property owner Evan Voltsis.

Pastor Scott Sund admitted that at first, he was not a big fan of the idea. After all, the place was known as one of Shoreline's most notorious establishments, and its business principles could not be more disconnected to the church's teachings.

"I just kept thinking, are we sure? Are we sure? Are we sure?" said Pastor Scott Sund. Eventually, he got behind the idea of turning the place into what is now known as the Junction.

In the last year, the Church has torn down the stage, the black walls, the garish red carpet and shattered the mirrors that represented the establishment's old life.

"For a while we thought we'd be able to re-purpose them... and we just began smashing them. There was something very powerful about just knowing how women were enslaved here."

Prior to The Junction's opening, the Church called for volunteers for construction, painting, carpet laying, and clean up, something which the community responded to enthusiastically, bringing the establishment closer to the people of Shoreline.

And its not just the community, the local government is also very supportive of the church's efforts.

Mayor Shari Winstead said the establishment's change of purpose is the best thing to happen in the 28 years she's been living in Shoreline.