Club Omni changes its tuneby adopting new stand

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    By SCOTT PORTE

    With a new name, new management and a cleaned-up image, Provo’s only dance club hopes to maintain “the edge” it has in providing a night life for local college students.

    After litigation and a change in ownership in February this year, what used to be The Edge dance club was transformed into Club Omni.

    “We wanted to bury the bad name The Edge had with BYU students,” said Ken Merena, Club Omni owner.

    The old dance club was plagued with incidents that in essence violated the BYU honor code, said Merena, also past co-owner of The Edge.

    “The city laws and rules of the previous club were poorly enforced and because of that we lost a lot of clients,” Merena said. “There were many incidents when bishops discouraged and even actively barred the students from coming to the club.”

    In order to turn the club around and win back the students who left, many changes had to be made, Merena said. The new name was only the beginning.

    Merena worked to transform the Edge into Club Omni — what he considers a respectable and clean-cut dance club.

    “We want to cater to the good kids of this and other communities and have a clean place to have wholesome fun — yet offering more than a stake dance atmosphere,” Merena said.

    In an open letter to BYU students printed in the April 11, 1996 edition of The Daily Universe, Merena apologized for previously having not paid attention to the wants of students.

    He outlined in the letter some of the rules that would be strictly enforced at Club Omni such as maintaining a neat and clean environment at all times, barring fighters from the club, admitting only those over 18 and prohibiting alcohol, tobacco, lewd dancing and offensive music.

    “A lot has changed,” said Toni, 19, a Provo native and dance club regular for three years. “The bad people have stopped coming and more good people are here. This is one of the best dance clubs in Utah and I’ve been to them all and seen some pretty scary things.”

    Others at Club Omni disagree.

    “The only difference I’ve seen is that there is better music mixing,” said Aubrey Adams, 21, an Orem native attending Princeton University. “The clean-cut image is not really there — you’ll still have the problems of drugs and alcohol.”

    “Even though there is a new name, there’s still the same crowd,” said Brandon Gardner, 19, from Spanish Fork. “Yet even at that, the people here are more realistic than the freaks at the Salt Lake clubs.”

    Since becoming Club Omni, the number of security guards has increased and dress code rules and ID checks have been enforced — eliminating many of the past problems, said Russ Lo, Security Manager for Club Omni.

    “I feel safe here now,” said dance clubber and former UVSC student, Lacey Belnap. “I don’t have to worry about guys touching me or lifting up my skirt or getting raped on the way out to my car.”

    Merena was also concerned about the reputation The Edge had developed as being a high school hang out.

    “We were alienating our audience — those we really wanted to cater to,” Merena said. “We have cleaned up our image and now offer an exclusive environment for college kids.”

    “Now that we are enforcing the college age requirement, people are realizing that the club is geared toward them,” Lo said. “We want a facility conducive to the BYU crowd and the college-age students.”

    The previous High School night of The Edge days was replaced with Latin night — one of the happiest nights at the club, Merena said.

    “It is just a different feel on Friday night,” Merena said. “The crowd is made up of respectful, hardworking people. While some are BYU students, most come from the community and even from Salt Lake City.

    Last month, Club Omni gave approximately 1,000 party-goers a taste of Mexican tradition with its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration — complete with a live mariachi band and authentic Mexican food.

    This fiesta is one of many annual special events at Club Omni, including New Year’s Eve, Halloween and Mardi Gras/Carnival parties.

    These events are incorporated into the weekly schedule of Ladies’ night on Wednesday, Country/Disco night on Thursday, Latin night on Friday and College night on Saturday.

    For more information call Club Omni at 375-0011

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