Violence shuts down Colonie strip club

COLONIE – When the doors to the Red Envelope Gentlemen’s Cabaret first opened at the beginning of this year, the place was jumping. Pole dancers were on stage, bar business was brisk, and patrons were standing shoulder to shoulder.

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In early May, when gunshots rang out in the parking lot and other episodes of violence occurred in surrounding neighborhoods, patrons took notice.

“Business fell by $20,000 in the month of May,” said Richard Snowden, owner of the Red Envelope, “I don’t know any new business that can survive losing a fair percentage of their business in one month.”

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Snowden had seen enough, opting to pull the plug on his own start-up night club.

“No business pursuit or money making opportunity would supersede the safety of staff and patrons,” said Snowden.

“I can’t say that I’ve seen that before,” said Lt. Dan Belles of the Colonie Police. “I admire Mr. Snowden for making that decision. We applaud him because he was able to recognize he had a problem on his hands and wasn’t able to resolve it and saw it getting worse.”

In coming out of retirement to open the Red Envelope, Snowden says he underestimated societal changes in America, alluding to escalating gun violence and other aberrant behavior that he sees as out of control, and happening outside his club.

“In all the years of operating businesses – and it goes back 43 years – I’ve had more incidents here than all the others in other establishments combined,” Snowden said, “And there have been 14 other establishments that I’ve owned over a period since 1979.”