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‘Topless’ cannabis sales plan could go up in smoke.

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By Jim Kinney | jkinney@repub.com



The shuttered Club Castaway in Whately could reopen in August, its owners say. Getting the strip club back open is their focus now, partner Nicholas Spagnola says.


Meantime, a proposal to open what might have been the country’s first “topless” cannabis retail outlet is “no longer a priority,” Spagnola told The Republican and MassLive.


Spagnola said he and his business partner, Julius Sokol, are having floors and a sound system repaired and are on track to open next month, after being closed since the pandemic hit.


Last winter, Spagnola and Sokol proposed converting Club Castaway into a topless marijuana dispensary, even as they pursued plans to reopen as a strip club.



Spagnola said the topless marijuana dispensary is no longer their goal.



Earlier this year, Spagnola and Sokol told Whately town officials their ultimate aim was to transform the club into a pot shop staffed by topless “budtenders.”



That venture, Spagnola said at a Select Board meeting on Feb. 16, would be cannabis “with a small twist.”


“There are a lot of dispensaries open,” he said. “I do think you need a niche to be successful.”


But as of this week, the partners have ditched that niche and are focusing on the club’s traditional business.


Club Castaway, Franklin County’s only strip club, has operated since the 1970s. It closed with the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.


Spagnola and Sokol, who are Boston real estate agents, began operating the club in late 2019 after purchasing it from its longtime owner.

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