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Former Anchorage strip club turns into church

The former Fantasies on 5th strip club has been transformed into the Open Door Baptist Church
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 10:31 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It’s a story of redemption, one that most might not expect.

Fantasies on 5th, a former Anchorage strip club, has recently transformed into a Baptist church. Mike Gailey, a realtor with Remax, said he was approached by the former owner of the building.

“There was a divine hand guiding this,” he said. “First I had suggested to her that it would be an excellent property for a church rather than a bar, restaurant or something like that.”

He said the previous owners seemed to like his idea, and connected him with a potential buyer named Linda Dunegan. Little did he know at the time, they had already crossed paths before.

“So we actually had dinner together 10 years ago in Vietnam,” Gailey said.

And it just so happened that Dunegan had the exact same idea in mind.

“So I said to Mike, ‘do you know why I want to buy this building? I want to turn it into a church,’” Dunegan said.

She ended up purchasing the building which is now the Open Door Baptist Church. She said the purchase is personal.

“My mother was a stripper,” Dunegan said. “And all that she had to do to feed a little girl, that’s very bothersome to me.”

Dunegan said her mother held various jobs around Anchorage.

“There was a lot of condemnation ... because when I went through this, I was younger. I couldn’t understand why my mom had to be a stripper,” she said.

Dunegan also said the purchase and transformation of the building is helping her heal.

“So that inspired me to take something that was used for darkness to turn into light, to serve the community and Open Door Baptist Church is that light in the community,” she said.

She said even though she didn’t necessarily agree with her mom’s career choice, there were many lessons learned.

“In spite of her occupation, she taught me to be a hard worker,” Dunegan said. “She taught me my grooming skills, she taught me how to be studious.”

Now, she hopes the new church will have a positive impact on the community, as it does on her.

“The Lord helped me to clean my life. And for me to help more people,” Dunegan said.

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