After almost 23 years of business, Wild Country, a popular spot frequented by SIUE students shut its doors without stating a reason.
Senior mass communications major Mollie Thompson from O’Fallon, Illinois, was one of many left surprised from the closure.
“It’s interesting because I thought they would have wanted to bring in last-minute business,” Thompson said.
Thompson said she visited the club often with her friends.
“I frequented often, at least once a month,” Thompson said. “I had friends that weren’t really into it and I had friends that were, but it was just a fun place to go and hang out with friends, especially since we hung out there before we turned 21.”
According to KSDK, Wild Country’s former owner Mike Major said he and his two brothers were tired of running the business. He told the TV station they had owned the club for 22 years and eight months.
The nightclub was sold and permanently closed on Jan. 5 without prior announcement of the closing, but the club’s “about me” section on Facebook confirmed that Wild Country was permanently closed after the fact.
Pete Krieshok, a senior business administration student from Granite City, Illinois, said he heard about the closing through Facebook after they closed their doors for good.
“I didn’t hear about it until people started sharing it on Facebook and that’s crazy to me that they wouldn’t want to tell people about their decision to close,” Krieshok said.
Krieshok felt the way the owners went about the closing was disrespectful.
“I think it’s rude not only to the customers, but I heard that the employees didn’t even know until the night of closing,” Krieshok said. “That’s a lot of jobs taken away without warning.”
It was estimated the club served over 2.5 million customers over the years, including Rachel McClery, a senior Spanish student from Granite City, Illinois.
McClery said the club was one of her favorite places to go.
“Country music is my favorite genre and I went from when I was 18 until they closed,” McClery said. “I went because I loved the dancing and it was the only place where people actually line dance.”
McClery said she felt safe at the country music club and liked the area it was in. She wishes she had known about the closing before it was too late.
“It was the only club in the surrounding St. Louis area I felt safe in and if I would have known the last time I was in there would be my last time ever going I think I would have tried to have more fun than usual and made it a night to remember,” McClery said.
KSDK said the sale of the building was finalized a few days before shutting down, and employees were told they were closing for good after their shift on Jan. 5. It’s reported the people who bought the building plan to turn it into a church and youth center.