A NIGHTCLUB boss says business is better then ever, despite another businessman claiming Southend’s nightspots were struggling.
Dick Devigne, 68, says his club – Dick de Vigne’s – has been full to capacity every Friday and Saturday night for the past decade.
He says the venue holds 500 people and is packed each week, despite claims from fellow town club boss Richard Shea, 44, who said he was considering renting out his three remaining clubs because of the struggle to make money.
Mr Devigne, a former DJ, said: “At Dick de Vigne’s we are still bursting at the seams. We have had to turn people away every Friday and Saturday night since we opened.”
Six months ago he opened Box, in Lucy Road, in place of the former Zinc nightclub, which closed more than a year ago.
He also reopened Chameleon, in Lucy Road, two years ago after the lease went on the market when the previous owner went bust.
He said: “When I took on Chameleon, people in the trade said I was mad, but it is now hitting capacity and it can hold 1,100 people.
“Box is in its infancy, but we are already hitting the 400 mark out of a 550 capacity. Lucy Road had died off for clubbing, so it was a risk investing there, but it’s paying off.
“We’ve really put Lucy Road back on the clubbing map."
He said he had a number of pointers in making a club a success, adding: “My policy is to have friendly doormen.
“I still choose who we have on the door. Of course we have some problems, because when you’re selling alcohol that goes with the territory, but we have friendly doormen, not bullies, to deal with it.
“If you run your club like the fastest gun in the west there will always be someone who will come back to try to take the doormen on.”
He says clubs need investment to survive and it was important for clubs to appeal to all ages.
He added: “Dick de Vigne’s is for all ages – your over 25s.
Chameleon is 21 plus and more dance music. Box is the most serious for dance music of the three.”
Mr Devigne cut his teeth working at clubs across Essex, including Talk of the South, now Talk, in Lucy Road, more than ten years ago.