Man fighting to open South Shore gentlemen’s spa after rumors of strippers


CHICAGO — A man trying to run a spa in South Shore is fighting to open following rumors.

Back in March, South Shore resident Derrick Merrill decided to buy a building at 2672 75th St.

Merrill said he applied for a business license to open Pharaoah’s Spa. So far, he has invested $80,000 into renovating the space. But recently, he said rumors started circulating online about the grand opening party.

“I got an email saying this was basically a fake barbershop, nail salon for prostitution,” 7th Ward Ald. candidate Jocilyn Floyd said. “A front business for crime.”

A resident told WGN News she saw that strippers were going to be there.

“It said ‘strippers until 8’ and it had other things listed for entertainment,” Natalie Perkins said. “Drinks and other things like that, so that doesn’t sound like a spa.”

The concerns were brought to a recent city zoning board appeals meeting, where 7th Ward Ald. Greg Mitchell spoke out against the business opening. His special use application was denied.

“It was no grand opening, no event, no strippers and this as you see is being set up for a barber shop, nail area and a massage area,” Derrick Merrill said.

Floyd feels Merrill hasn’t been given a fair shot.

“I think people need to give him a chance, meet him see his vision,” she said.

But some in the community said they’re not sure.

“if it really was a gentleman’s spa, it would be so nice to have that type of business that we can begin to see in South Shore,” Perkins said. “But it doesn’t seem like that is what he’s doing.”

Merrill said he is not giving up and appealed the zoning board’s decision.

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