The NorShor Experience: A Strip Club Retrospective

NorShor Experience NorShor Adult Club

The NorShor Theatre first hosted exotic dancers on May 24, 2006, with two simple words on the marquee: “Live Girls.” Later, the words “Adult Club” would appear above the theater’s new business name: the NorShor Experience.

The NorShor had been closed for 10 months due to fire code violations before the strip club moved in, except for one night, May 4, when Duluth’s fire marshall allowed Low to perform during the 2006 Homegrown Music Festival.

Aurora native Jim Gradishar, owner of the nearby Wabasha Book store and the strip club Fuzzy’s Place, was proprietor of the NorShor Experience, which featured a few concerts and midget wrestling cards in addition to strippers. During the club’s four-year run, neighboring business owners and citizens complained, and legal battles and fire-code issues stalled operations at times.

Gladishar received a probationary sentence in St. Louis County District Court for carrying a firearm in the NorShor while under the influence of alcohol in 2009. After that he fell into depression and took his own life in 2010 at the age of 47.

The NorShor Experience stayed in business for a few more weeks under the management of Tina Jackson, but in April 2010 Duluth Mayor Don Ness announced the Duluth Economic Development Authority, the city’s economic development arm, would purchase the NorShor Theatre and Temple Opera Block from owner Eric Ringsred for $2.3 million. Six years later, a $30.5 million renovation is poised to begin. The deal involves DEDA handing over ownership to developer George Sherman’s company, Sherman Associates, and the city providing $2.2 million in tax-increment financing. The nonprofit Duluth Playhouse will operate the theater and eventually take over ownership.

PDD30HipHopCandyShopWeird historical coincidence: The same day “Live Girls” went up on the NorShor marquee, the Hip Hop Candy Shop sign went up at 105 W. Fourth St. Owner James Redd was arrested later that year for criminal sexual conduct. He was sentenced to 98 months in prison. He also had multiple arrests for selling crack and possessing marijuana.



about 8 years ago

I'd love to hear more stories about these buildings.  I've had an office in the Temple Opera Building for over 15 years.  I've been through the basement, on the roof, and the green room at the Norshor.  All very interesting.  Until this week my office was in 208, formerly an office used by the Ripsaw.  Well, the times are changing as 208 will become a stairwell and elevator serving the Norshor Theater and the Temple Opera Building (with an entrance is was was recently the Fig Leaf.  Fortunately I've been able to relocate just down the hall to 205 and will have front row seats for the renovation.  But, that old office served me well and it will be missed!


about 8 years ago

Man, I really wish I could get into the Norshor to take a few photos before everything changes. Maybe it's too late. Like everyone else here, I spent a lot of time there,  1999-2005 or so. So many memories that I wish I could congeal into a series of images. 

Also: anyone ever go into the hip hop candy shop?  Always wondered if they actually sold candy, or what.

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