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If the shoe fits: They keep a low profile, but adult clubs are big business (access required)

By Sam Boykin CHARLOTTE — It started with a little dive bar on South Boulevard. David Baucom, then working for the City of Charlotte supervising tree maintenance crews, bought the neighborhood watering hole near Dilworth in the early 1980s. Over the years, he experimented with different themes: For a while it was a biker bar. Next, he jumped on the country music bandwagon. Then he turned it into a rock club, packing in the big-hair, Spandex-clad crowd. In 1987, he decided to go in another direction, this one involving scantily clad women dancing on stage for money. He called it Leather and Lace. “Things just clicked,” said Baucom, who quit his job with the city to focus full-time on the strip club, doing everything from serving drinks to working the door. His wife, Jackie, worked as a waitress and dancer. Today, Baucom owns a dozen adult nightclubs in the region — including Baby Dolls, The Gold Club and six others in Charlotte — and a club in Panama City, Panama.  While most Charlotte boosters may not acknowledge it, these types of establishments — there are about 20 in Charlotte — play a vital role in the local economy, employing hundreds and helping infuse the area with cash, even if it is mostly in $1 denominations.

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