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Jolar shutters nude dancer booths at College Grove

"Convoy is going to be flooded with girls"

Jolar circa 1985, when the sign still headlined Live Exotic Dancers
Jolar circa 1985, when the sign still headlined Live Exotic Dancers

"Jolar just let all the girls go and they are getting rid of the booths," reports a former employee of the longtime College Grove adult boutique where women have been performing private nude dance shows in tiny rooms since the early 1980s. "I guess it had something to do with being forced to pay minimum wage by law now, so they said it wasn't worth it, and just fired everyone today [October 24]." The women had previously been treated as independent contractors, renting booth space and paying a percentage of their tips to Jolar.

Harry Mohney went from one porn drive-in theater to a chain of U.S. porn shops, peep shows, and strip clubs

Originally operated downtown and known as Jolar Cinema, the small building near 63rd and University features an adult boutique in the front and a back room lined with video "peep show" booths and private dancer rooms. From the early '80s until a few years ago, a small stage at the back of the building featured live dancers who could only be seen by dropping money into peep show machines that would open a small viewing window for a moment. Tiny booths lining that stage, and later lining the outer walls, featured the same dancers doing private one-on-one shows, separated from customers by a glass partition.

Second local store in the Ellwest/Jolar chain has also shuttered private dance booths

The stage was eventually eliminated in favor of a movie screen, but the women in booths have been a staple at Jolar since its inception in the late 70s. The same chain runs similar stores on Barnett Avenue and Convoy, and has been operating everything from massage parlors to X-rated drive-in theaters and strip clubs across the country for decades.

All three San Diego stores have long been linked to the nationwide porn chain run by Harry Mohney, who the Meese Commission report on pornography cited as one of the leading adult merchants in the U.S. in terms of the scope of his operations. Mohney later gained notoriety over a $14 million tax bill and as founder of the Deja Vu Showgirls chain of “gentleman’s clubs.” Each of his San Diego stores shared employees, including dancers.

"No more [dancers] at Barnett, they are still owned by Jolar," says the former employee. "The one on Convoy so far is okay, they may have different rules because they opened later...Convoy is going to be flooded with girls!" The dancer rooms at Jolar and Barnett are already being prepared for remodeling as video booths.

Part of a peep show chain operated under the company name Ellwest, Jolar was the company's only San Diego store with live dancer booths from the late 70s through the late 90s, when a second store with booths opened on Barnett. That was followed a few years later by a Convoy shop which, like Barnett, was geared toward couples, offering lingerie and marital aids, without the company's previous focus on live dancers (though they were on premises many evenings).

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Jolar circa 1985, when the sign still headlined Live Exotic Dancers
Jolar circa 1985, when the sign still headlined Live Exotic Dancers

"Jolar just let all the girls go and they are getting rid of the booths," reports a former employee of the longtime College Grove adult boutique where women have been performing private nude dance shows in tiny rooms since the early 1980s. "I guess it had something to do with being forced to pay minimum wage by law now, so they said it wasn't worth it, and just fired everyone today [October 24]." The women had previously been treated as independent contractors, renting booth space and paying a percentage of their tips to Jolar.

Harry Mohney went from one porn drive-in theater to a chain of U.S. porn shops, peep shows, and strip clubs

Originally operated downtown and known as Jolar Cinema, the small building near 63rd and University features an adult boutique in the front and a back room lined with video "peep show" booths and private dancer rooms. From the early '80s until a few years ago, a small stage at the back of the building featured live dancers who could only be seen by dropping money into peep show machines that would open a small viewing window for a moment. Tiny booths lining that stage, and later lining the outer walls, featured the same dancers doing private one-on-one shows, separated from customers by a glass partition.

Second local store in the Ellwest/Jolar chain has also shuttered private dance booths

The stage was eventually eliminated in favor of a movie screen, but the women in booths have been a staple at Jolar since its inception in the late 70s. The same chain runs similar stores on Barnett Avenue and Convoy, and has been operating everything from massage parlors to X-rated drive-in theaters and strip clubs across the country for decades.

All three San Diego stores have long been linked to the nationwide porn chain run by Harry Mohney, who the Meese Commission report on pornography cited as one of the leading adult merchants in the U.S. in terms of the scope of his operations. Mohney later gained notoriety over a $14 million tax bill and as founder of the Deja Vu Showgirls chain of “gentleman’s clubs.” Each of his San Diego stores shared employees, including dancers.

"No more [dancers] at Barnett, they are still owned by Jolar," says the former employee. "The one on Convoy so far is okay, they may have different rules because they opened later...Convoy is going to be flooded with girls!" The dancer rooms at Jolar and Barnett are already being prepared for remodeling as video booths.

Part of a peep show chain operated under the company name Ellwest, Jolar was the company's only San Diego store with live dancer booths from the late 70s through the late 90s, when a second store with booths opened on Barnett. That was followed a few years later by a Convoy shop which, like Barnett, was geared toward couples, offering lingerie and marital aids, without the company's previous focus on live dancers (though they were on premises many evenings).

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