By Gene Campbell
After less than three years in business, Saint John's only LGBT nightclub, located at 507 Main Street in the Port City, has called it quits and closed its doors for good! After its owners had spent two months renovating, incorporating, obtaining licenses and zoning, etc, PUMP opened to the public on Saturday, June 12, 2010.
Co-owner Troy Morehouse said, "The first three or four months were busy because we were new. There hadn't been another gay nightspot since late in 2009."
"Not everyone liked the location," he said, but was quick to add, "It was pretty-much the same as previous bars - personal prference. Some people liked it because it wasn't too close to the other bars - only a 10 or 15 minute walk. A lot of people liked us being a little bit away, because we didn't have to deal with the overflow, and the riff-raff."
PUMP, catered to all ages, "19, all the way up to 75!" He said the bar was more of a social venue than a cruising spot. "We had about a 50/50 mix of gay and straight." Morehouse added that there was very rarely a problem with the clientele. "They all came, because their gay friends were there. There was a friendly atmosphere, and they liked the music."
The music was usually handled by DJ's, and there were at least two live shows at the Club, both drawing large crowds. Porn-star, Pierre Fitch, from Montreal, drew fans to the Saint John night-spot from throughout the Maritimes, and, recording star Carol Pope was a featured guest, last Fall. "The crowd wasn't as big as expected for Pope, but she put on an amazing show," said Morehouse. "Pierre - porn - brings in a bigger crowd."
Jenny Gillingham, was Morehouse's business partner in the venture, both have other jobs, so won't be out in the cold due to the closure. Morehouse is an engineer, while Gillingham works as a teaching assistant with special-needs children at an elementary school.
"The last year-and-a-half, we have been loosing money. We never really made any money. We knew we were never going to make money at this. We did it more as a hobby, we had fun doing it. But." he added, "The times, they are a-changing. People aren't spending as much money, as they used to. They don't have the cash-flow, they used to have." He added that, "A lot of people don't come out, 'till 12:30/1 o'clock, they're late-night crowds. It's hard to make money in just an hour-and-a-half!" Morehouse said that about twelve people, all part-time staff, will be effected by the closure.
While sad to see PUMP close he allows that he is somewhat relieved at no longer having the headaches of running it. "But we have no regrets. I feel bad for our regulars, they were there, just about every weekend, and for the people that helped us with the business, renovations, etc.'
"But I'm sad to see it all end, something you put your heart and soul into. But, everything has to come to an end! We had fun, doing it. We had a lot of great people. It's always fun, to see people to see people laughing, and enjoying themselves."
So, where did the unusual name - PUMP - come from? Morehouse said, "We went through a whole whack of names, and we wanted something short, simple, and easy to say when you're drunk! It's a name you can play on, like, 'get pumped, at PUMP Nightclub!' "
PUMP Nightclub, located at 507 Main Street in Saint John, closed it's doors to the public, for the last time, on Saturday, March 30.
Editor's note: Photo shows Michael Roberts & David Clark at PUMP's closing party. Photo courtesy of PUMP nightclub.