- Associated Press - Thursday, April 28, 2016

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The lone remaining strip club in downtown Williston is making a dramatic change to its business plan, after city officials put an end to topless dancing in the heart of the oil patch hub.

Heartbreakers plans to become a gathering spot for the LGBT community.

Topless dancers will perform until May 6, after which the club will shut down and reopen later in the month as a gay and lesbian bar, owner Jarod Holbrook told the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1NWnWex ).

Holbrook said a dramatic overhaul is the only way his business can survive after it loses its niche.

“For us to try to compete with the other establishments in town, we have nothing new to offer,” he said.

The City Commission in January restricted all exotic dancing to industrial zones on Williston’s outer fringe, citing crime around the two downtown strip clubs and a desire for a cleaner image for the city’s center.

The other club, Whispers, plans to convert to a sports bar.

Heartbreakers accused the city of using misleading information on police calls to justify the downtown strip club ban but unsuccessfully fought for more time to meet the new regulations.

Holbrook said his decision to reinvent his club was driven by “a huge response from the gay and lesbian community.” He’s seeking suggestions on events, music and a new name.

“We’re going to welcome people to come in and talk to us,” he said.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com

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