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'Ultimate Girls Nite Out' Canceled, Owner Says She Had the Best Intentions

By Howard Ludwig | February 12, 2016 6:40am
 Renita Fitness in Mount Greenwood was advertising for an
Renita Fitness in Mount Greenwood was advertising for an "Ultimate Girls Nite Out" event Saturday. A cease and desist order was issued Wednesday after it was learned that food and alcohol were going to be served. A cover charge was also part of the event. None of these things aren't allowed under the current business license, said Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th).
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MOUNT GREENWOOD — The "Ultimate Girls Nite Out" has been canceled in Mount Greenwood.

The host of the "ladies-only" event, Renita Gholston, was issued a cease and desist order Wednesday by the city's Department of Business and Consumer Affairs, Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) said.

Her business, Renita Fitness at 11114 S. Kedzie Ave., was planning the host of the event featuring "X-Adult Entertainers" from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. But Gholston said she had only the best intentions in mind.

She said the event was aimed at single women who would otherwise be sitting at home on Valentine's Day weekend. It was also meant to celebrate her fitness studio's two-year anniversary.

"There's a lot of women who need encouragement for their self-esteem," said Gholston, who said most of the attendees were regular customers.

The event was advertised as offering free drinks and hors d'oeuvres. A $35 advance cover charge was also required or $40 at the door. But none of that was allowed under Gholston's business license, O'Shea said.

"You cannot go beyond the scope of your business license," he said. "That stuff needs to be enforced."

The Far Southwest Side alderman said he began receiving phone calls about the event from concerned neighbors Tuesday.

Others dropped off fliers featuring several shirtless men in O'Shea's office Wednesday, at which point he reached out to the city's business and consumer affairs department.

"They had already taken a lot of calls on it," he said, adding Chicago Police delivered the order to Gholston Wednesday.

Gholston, a police officer herself, said that there was never going to be any nudity, despite her flier that may have hinted otherwise by advertising "chair massages" and "tips appreciated."

"It was just hunky guys coming out of their shirts," said Gholston, a resident of Morgan Park.

Gholston opened her business in December 2013 and made no apologies for her style of workouts that often take a sexy approach. A renowned bodybuilder, she offers one class called "sexercise." It relies on "booty pops" and other moves aimed at increasing "longevity on the dance floor — or the bedroom," according to the website.

"But it is a serious workout," said Gholston, who also added that she teaches traditional classes like boot camp, indoor cycling and cardio kickboxing as well.

That said, Gholston apologized and said her event was not meant to offend anyone or rock the boat. From her perspective, the event seemed like no big deal, but others clearly felt differently.

"I would never go this direction again, because the last thing I want to do is step on anyone's toes," she said. "I'm not fighting it or anything. I just want people to understand."

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