Friday June 30, 2006

Club Crystal new business addition in Port City

Owners convert former Ferris Wheel into nightclub
By Lou Sorendo

    Oswego native Crystal DiGregorio has returned to her hometown in a big way.

    DiGregorio, after having explored the world of acting and modeling in California, has created a new business, Club Crystal, on Water Street in downtown Oswego.

    Club Crystal is a nightclub that occupies the old Ferris Wheel Tavern across for Old City Hall. Along with business partner and fiancé Jon Hoffman, the two have breathed new life into an old building that had been left vacant and in disrepair.

    Now, they are setting their sights on kicking up the entertainment scene in Oswego a notch or two.

    Why did they select the site on Water Street? “There’s more potential on Water Street. It’s a destination point for many,” she said. The 23-year-old noted that it is also ideally located within a popular Harborfest venue. The four-day festival is featured during the last weekend in July and creates heavy pedestrian traffic along Water Street.

    The business is modeled after the popular "Coyote Ugly" theme which features bar top dancers. These clubs have reportedly been successful in many U.S. cities. The “Club Crystal Girls”—who are led by choreographer Stephanie Pomerville—dance on Saturday evenings at the new club. However, DiGregorio cautioned that the nightclub is not a “strip club” or gentleman’s club.

    “People just have to come here and see for themselves,” she said.

    “I’ve always wanted to start my own club,” DiGregorio said. Creating a club in Oswego gives her the opportunity to learn the business on a smaller scale. If successful, she is contemplating owning another club at her home in Malibu, Calif.

    When asked what she enjoys most about operating her own club, DiGregorio said she enjoys bartending and participating in dance segments as well.

    Club Crystal now features two floors, with the second floor featuring 2,000 square feet of dance space, a disc jockey booth and bar. DiGregorio said the city has been greatly supportive of the new business establishment, and she received a high level of cooperation from the zoning office.

    Converting the former Ferris Wheel meant a total renovation, ranging from the installation of new steel supports to new plumbing and air conditioning systems.

    Club Crystal features a scanner system which prevents underage drinkers from entering with false identification. It also has security staff to help keep the peace.

    The new business employs 25 workers. Hours are from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Those hours will expand once SUNY Oswego returns for fall session later this year.

    Another plan is to create an 18 and over night on Wednesdays. The second floor will be alcohol free and will feature guest deejays and a juice bar for the younger set to enjoy.

    DiGregorio is also considering using the third floor of the building as a game room complete with pool tables and darts. The owners are also introducing live music twice a week, and are looking for new talent.

    Club Crystal is nestled among two other taverns: Old City Hall and Toucan’s. However, DiGregorio and her staff do not see the arrangement as spawning competition. “This enhances Water Street. It’s not about competition,” said Club Crystal manager Rodney Russell. “However, we are the only dance club in the city.”

    Russell said Club Crystal and the other taverns on Water Street are working together on future projects. “We’re working on some cross-promotional stuff,” he said. “We’re bringing Water Street back to life.”

    Russell noted that featuring an exclusive dance club will help keep people from leaving town to seek alternative forms of entertainment.

    DiGregorio said Old City Hall is more “laid back” compared to Club Crystal, while Toucan’s resembles more of a “Tiki Bar.” “We are more like a New York City-style nightclub,” DiGregorio said. “And, of course, it’s pink.”

    Much of the décor—and Club Crystal’s logo—is adorned in pink, Crystal’s favorite color.

Oswego County Business Magazine
Issue 161

Issue 161
April/May 2019

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Kristin Bullard

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