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Old Brick party may bring non-alcoholic establishment

BY ALLIE JOHNSON | JANUARY 31, 2011 7:10 AM

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Corey Collins and Evan Ivory consider 2,000 people a success. And now, they’re trying to persuade business-owners and investors that kind of success can be repeated.

After 10 months of planning a nonalcoholic dance party, the UI students said they were thrilled about the outcome.

“If you [think about] it, some bars don’t even get these kind of numbers … So if someone’s smart enough, they definitely should check out something like this,” said Collins, a UI freshman.

On Jan. 28, lines of students stretched out the door and around Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. Inside, two DJs spun music and hundreds danced under flashing lights.

UI freshman Ross Dudek said he went to the dance party expecting to have a good time, but he didn’t expected approximately 2,000 people to show up.

“To be honest, I didn’t think there would be nearly as many people because of sorority rush. The girls couldn’t come out, but it seems like everyone who could, came to this,” Dudek said. “Especially everyone under 21.”

Following the successful outcome, the two organizers said they feel optimistic about getting a business owner to open a more permanent nonalcoholic establishment downtown.

Collins said their next step would be to hold another party and start talking with business owners and investors.

“We don’t have an exact date, but we’re going to plan for another [event],” Collins said. “Right now, we are going to talk underground with a lot of people to make this an actual business.”

UI sophomore Ivory said he was excited about the outcome.

“It’s successful,” he said. “It’s everything we wanted it to be. Everybody came out, and honestly, they were having a good time.”

UI Vice President for Student Services Tom Rocklin wrote in an e-mail he was pleased with the success.

“[I] hope we can see more events like it in the future,” he said. “The success is a credit to the organizers and evidence that UI students know how to have a good time in a nonalcoholic setting.”

Laurie Camp, the manager of Karma, a nonalcoholic dance club in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said these types of establishments can make money. But being in a college town, where students have easy access to alcohol, could complicate profitability, she said.

Karma, Camp said, makes money from its $10 cover.

“It is a touristy town, so there are always teens,” Camp said. “When we are open, we are packed.”

Iowa City property developer Marc Moen, who also applauded the party’s outcome, said he would support creating a similar permanent establishment.

“I think it is exactly what everyone hoped would happen,” he said. “That people would become a little more creative and less reliable on alcohol.”

Moen said he briefly spoke with Collins about the plan and loved the idea. When Collins told him 2,000 people said they would attend, Moen thought it was a typo.

“When he told me 2,000, I said you mean 200? And he said, ‘No, we are expecting 2,000 people,’ ” Moen said. “And I thought that was just incredible.”


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