Feature

Naked Ambition

Meet Troy Lowrie. Family man. Philanthropist. And king of Colorado strip clubs.

September 2005

It's a Wednesday morning, and Troy Lowrie looks like your average wealthy suburban Denver father who's about to take his little girl to school before heading into the office. Waiting for his 8-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, to gather her things, he puts his briefcase and suit jacket in the pristine trunk of his Mercedes and putters about the granite-topped counters of his gilded kitchen. At 40 years old, Lowrie is of average height, with more hair than many men his age. He wears a fitted dress shirt that's snug on his solid build, along with a tie, grey suit pants, and shiny dress shoes. Normally, Lowrie drives his daughter and son, Houston, 9, to school, and before leaving he spends these few minutes talking with his wife. But Pam was up all night nursing Houston through a bout of the flu, and they're both in bed.

Gabrielle announces she’s ready, and the two head to the Benz. In the garage, they pass the family’s fleet of cars: a Jaguar (with plates that read PAMS JAG), a few motorcycles, and a custom pink Hummer. In the corner there’s the 1934 Ford three-window coupe that Lowrie restored with his late father, Hal, the patriarch of the family business, VCG Holding Corp. Gabrielle tosses her backpack onto the car seat and hops in. The 10-minute drive to school takes them past horses grazing in the meadows of the Lowries’ posh subdivision nuzzled against the foothills. “Don’t forget it’s our turn to drive to jazz class today,” he reminds Gabrielle as they pull up to her elementary school. “I’ll be here at 3.” Curbside, Lowrie exchanges “I love yous” with his little girl, and he watches the enormous backpack bounce on her back as she scurries into the school. Then it’s a 10-minute drive to the Lakewood office of his VCG headquarters.

By 8:15 a.m., Lowrie walks by the bronze bust of his father and enters the corner office. As he does every day, the first thing he does is call VCG’s president, Mike Ocello, in St. Louis to check on last night’s numbers. It was Fat Tuesday—that night when every city seems to have a Bourbon Street—and a very profitable night for VCG, a company founded on booze and boobs. The Lowrie family business is a national chain of 13 strip clubs, with five of them in Denver: three PT’s Showclubs, The Penthouse Club, and the local crown jewel in Lowrie’s burgeoning dynasty, the Diamond Cabaret and Steakhouse, which he picked up last year for $6 million. With the phone cradled to his ear, surrounded by pictures of Pam and the kids, Lowrie nods and smiles. He knows that nights like last night are providing the capital to fund his corporate strategy, one that could make him the Walt Disney of porn­—which would make Denver his Magic Kingdom.

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