Author Spotlight: Alan Markovitz and Topless Prophet
One man’s story of what it takes to run a strip club empire –the dangers, secrets, pitfalls, surprises – and rewards –and the business lessons learned.
What is it really like to open and run a successful string of strip clubs?
“It’s not what you think it is,” reveals Alan Markovitz, author of a new book and owner of the nation’s leading gentlemen’s club.
Topless Prophet: The True Story of America's Most Successful Gentleman's Club Entrepreneur offers a rare glimpse into the world of gentlemen’s clubs, taking us behind the scenes of the operations of one of the nation’s most successful club owners. Where other books provide insight on the scandalous side of strippers, escorts, and x-rated entertainment, Topless Prophet is as much a business book and autobiography of an ingenious entrepreneur as it is an exploration of what goes into staying on top of an industry filled with cut-throat competition, corruption, celebrities, and beautiful women who make a living dancing.
In this moving memoir of Alan Markovitz, who owns several Penthouse Gentlemen’s Clubs and the country’s No. 1 ranked adult entertainment club (The Ultimate Strip Club List (http://www.tuscl.net/), The Flight Club, we are treated to a first-hand account of a Detroit businessman who has helped change and grow an industry while overcoming many challenges, some life-threatening, some business-endangering. He has spent nearly the past three decades reformulating the ultimate fantasy setting for men.
“The business of entertainment has a lot of glamour and glitz – and beautiful women for sure — but it’s filled with many forces that can challenge and chew you up in no time,” says Markovitz. “The key is to think ahead, exceed expectations, be ready for a fight, and be wise enough to know when to walk away.”
Not Taught in Business School
For the entrepreneur, it can be an extremely risky venture with a steep, sharp learning curve. They just don’t teach you in business school what it takes to get an adult club off the ground without immediately crashing and burning. You pretty much have to learn the business hands on, so to speak, or from the bottom up, like I did when I went to work at La Chambre. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you will get ripped off by thieving parasites of all varieties and, for those of you who believe that topless entertainment is the abject exploitation of women, all I have to say is this: you try managing 50 or 100 competitive and strong-willed ladies who are more often than not drinking copious amounts of alcohol on the job. If you let them they will walk all over you in their stiletto-heeled dancer platforms until you are no longer breathing…I kid you not. They can and will whine, wheedle, demand, manipulate and fight – literally tooth and nail – with all their feminine wiles as well as tricks they have picked up from traveling kung fu masters to get what they want. Mind you, I am not saying that there are not honest, kind, decent, hardworking and responsible women working as topless entertainers. There are. But trying to separate out the different personalities that often inhabit each individual dancer is work for a dozen clones of Sigmund Freud.
Read What Reviewers are Saying!
Bold business moves are needed in any field of commerce — even in the adult entertainment industry. “Topless Prophet: The True Story of America’s Most Successful Gentleman’s Club Entrepreneur” tells the story of Markovitz and his realization of his goal to becoming one of the most powerful adult entertainment entrepreneurs in America. Starting with a small bar in Michigan, he’s created his own empire of topless bars. “Topless Prophet” is an intriguing memoir combining fascinating business sense with the curiosity of erotic dancing. –Midwest Book Review
Markovitz’s story begins with humble roots growing up in the Jewish middle class neighborhood of Oak Park, Michigan, the son of a television repair shop owner. We come to learn of the vision, grit and gumption that he possesses – and is very much needed – to succeed in business.
He starts out as a kid in a candy store, working the bar for the neighborhood strip club as a teenager. Markovitz befriends the owner and seeks him out as a business partner when he ventures out to buy his first club at age 22. From there on we see him come back stronger from every challenge, crisis, or adversity along the way to establishing himself at the top of the topless business.
Markovitz overcame many unique circumstances, including when he
■Had to testify against the Mafia that threatened him.
■Saw his club raided by the police as part of a smear campaign by a competing Eight Mile club owner – and spent the weekend in jail.
■Was shot by one of his own dancers after he fired her.
■Saw his dancers try to unionize to block a new compensation system.
■Had one of his clubs tank after the local city (Ft. Lauderdale) changed the laws about alcohol being served in strip clubs.
■Was blocked by political cronyism when he tried to open in Las Vegas.
■Got sued for trademark infringement by Boeing.
■Was accidentally shot by a drunken patron, an off-duty police officer.
■Had his father, a Holocaust survivor who became his business partner, negotiate with a menacing biker gang that threatened his first club.
■Manages over 300 dancers at each club.
■Attempted to bring the strip club setting to airplanes and golf courses.
■Got swindled out of a million dollars when trying to buy a club.
■Views expansion, upgrades, location, quality of service, the competition, pricing, and knowing when to wage a legal fight.
“The formula for success is fleeting,” says Markovitz. “Just when you think you know what it is, it changes. You can’t be complacent in this business.” Markovitz certainly knows what it takes to make millions and have fun doing it.