Winning Hearts

I miss the Lusty Lady.  Yes, that Lusty Lady, the “adult entertainment” club in downtown Seattle across the street from the Seattle Art Museum.  More specifically, I miss the pithy and clever marquee.

I came to the corner of 1st and Union to make my right turn and instinctively looked to see what witty innuendo was posted only to be reminded that the Seattle landmark closed it’s doors in June of last year.

Some may be surprised to learn a woman always looked forward to a chuckle at the wording displayed there.  You might even be more surprised to read about it in a blog that focuses on the customer experience but I think there is a business lesson here for all of us.

There are a lot of different businesses that some people may find distasteful for a wide variety of reasons.  Adult entertainment certainly falls into that category but then, to some, so does a daycare center with a noisy playground.  Politicians use the term NIMBY for “Not in My Backyard”, a common sentiment for everything from nuclear power plants to landfills to low income housing.

The  light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek comments on the famous marquee of the Lusty Lady moved it from offensive to beloved.  The demise of the business was not due to protesters or activists pushing restrictive regulations but rather the economic climate and the easy access to adult entertainment on the internet.  No one I have ever mentioned the Lusty Lady to had a “thank goodness they’re gone” response, quite the opposite.

The business point in all this; if you have a business that may be objectionable – however legal or necessary it may be, look for ways to charm your local community.  Where the Lusty Lady did it with topical, double entendres, you may do by sponsoring Little League or being active in local charitable causes.

Always do what you can to be a good neighbor and operate an honest business but beyond that, try to keep your sense of humor.  Remember, a laugh will go a long way towards being memorable for all the right reasons.

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