published Friday, September 5th, 2014

Electric Cowboy shuts down Chattanooga location

The lights have gone out at Chattanooga's Electric Cowboy.

The Brainerd nightclub, one of Chattanooga's biggest dance bars since it opened nine years ago, shut down early Sunday morning and does not plan to reopen at its current site, according to former club employees.

The Chattanooga location was one of 13 Electric Cowboy nightclubs that the nightclub chain has opened in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Kansas over the past two decades. On Thursday, the company removed Chattanooga from its web listing of locations.

The closing will idle about 16 club employees, according to one worker who asked not to be identified. The displaced bartenders, wait staff and bouncers won't have far to go to look for a new job or file for unemployment. The Tennessee Career Center operated by the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development is adjacent to the Electric Cowboy in the Eastgate Town Center.

The Electric Cowboy was the biggest remaining entertainment tenant at Eastgate. But as Eastgate has shifted over time to more corporate offices, small retail shops and family and senior services, the Electric Cowboy's late-night Western-style music and dancing stood in sharp contrast to its neighboring tenants.

Eastgate Town Center acting manager David Goddard said the Electric Cowboy still has an ongoing lease with Eastgate. But if the night club doesn't renew its lease, Goddard said Eastgate will not try to replace the Electric Cowboy with another nightclub.

Eastgate has about 700,000 square feet and is currently about 80 percent occupied, Goddard said.

Jeff Bostic, the regional manager for the Electric Cowboy in Chattanooga, and Troy Guidash, president of operations for the company in Tyler, Tex., did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the closing of the Chattanooga Electric Cowboy.

The Chattanooga Beer Board ordered the Electric Cowboy to close for five days in May for overserving drunk customers, but Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman said the night club has no outstanding violations and this week's closing was not related to any city action against the Electric Cowboy.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

News report from May:

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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