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They hope kids will get in the Groove

June 28, 1997

By SAMANTHA KRULEWITZ

Staff Writer

There are some teenagers who say there is nothing to do at night until they turn 21. Two Hagerstown businessmen want that to change.

Wes Phleeger, 27, and Ethan "Opie" Giffin, 23, are opening a multipurpose entertainment center called Liquid Groove on July Fourth.

The pair has experience dealing with entertainment. Phleeger owns Kick's Music and Vision, a music store, in Long Meadow Shopping Center, and Giffin is head disc jockey and programmer at Barracuda Surf Bar on the Dual Highway.

"We want to assure parents that we're going to be safe - completely non-alcoholic and drug free. We also wanted to give kids a big place to go," Phleeger said.

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Giffin said there will be six to eight security guards per night and there will always be a hired city police officer at the front door for dances. He said the guards will be inside and patrolling the parking lot.

The name Liquid Groove was chosen for its techno and rave-like sound, Phleeger said. The club will be mostly for ages 13 to 20, but all ages can play the arcade games and billiards tables during the day and attend the seven day a week events throughout the summer, he said.

"The club will be starting out with eight billiards tables and will expand as needed. The arcade is going to start as big as other arcades in the area and expand in the future also," Phleeger said.

The partners have many national-level contacts with record companies, artists and disc jockeys and expect Liquid Groove to be on a national level," Phleeger said.

"No one in the area brings in many national artists and DJs, we are going to have local artists, but we want to bring them in from the nation level also," he said. "We visited clubs in Miami and New York and want to bring that style here."

Phleeger and Giffin didn't spare expense when choosing equipment for the club. Phleeger said they spent $30,000 just on sound and lights.

"We went to great lengths to put in a huge sound system and lights. Our corporate motto is entertainment for the next century," Giffin said.

Giffin and Phleeger thought of the idea a year and a half ago, but just moved into the former Izod building on the Dual Highway a little over a month ago. The partners designed all their own logos and the inside of the club.

"One of the biggest concern was finding a good location. We wanted high visibility, but we didn't want to disturb any neighborhoods," Phleeger said.

Another perk of the club, Phleeger said, is that they don't have to shut down at a set time because the club is non-alcoholic. In addition, they will have a concession stand that will sell pizza, popcorn and other snack foods and Pepsi products.

Sunday, July 6 is going to be the first night they have live bands, Phleeger said. They are in talks with a few bands right now, but nothing is definite yet.

For more information, call the Groove Line at (301) 790-0707 or visit the Liquid Groove Website at www.liquid-groove.com.

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