Dixie Electric Company

When disco was king during the mid-’70s, discos sprouted in shopping centers across America like mushrooms after a long rain. During that era, the Columbus disco of choice was called Dixie Electric Company and was located in the Great Western Shopping Center, far out West Broad Street. Behind its unassuming storefront facade it had everything you wanted in a disco — a checkered, light-up-from-underneath dance floor, a disco ball, strobe lights, a smoke machine and siren, and a DJ who could sense the best times to move between fast songs and slow songs and the songs that were best suited to make the transition and could hit the strobe light and disco ball at the crucial moment in Fire by the Ohio Players.

My high school friend JD and I used to go to Dixie Electric Company occasionally, just to see if we could screw up our courage and successfully ask girls to dance. The women seemed to show up in dense, impenetrable packs and sit at the tables nearest the dance floor, while the guys would hang out in the dim periphery or near the bar. If you summoned the gumption to ask a girl to dance, you had to make a long walk to the bright area near the dance floor, and if the woman turned you down after sizing up your hair, clothes, general appearance, and likely dancing abilities it was a very public humiliation. Much better to go up with your friend after spotting a female twosome who seemed like good candidates and ask them to dance at the same time, so if you both got turned down you could share a self-deprecating laugh as you slinked back to your table in the cavernous depths of the club!

I have to confess that I liked a lot of the “disco music” that they played at the Dixie Electric Company, even though I didn’t own very impressive “disco outfits” or know any dance steps beyond the beginner-level “Bus Stop.” Still, I thought dancing was a lot of fun if you weren’t horribly self-conscious about it. JD and I had some good times at the Dixie Electric Company, and in recognition of that fact I have called the “disco” playlist on my Ipod “Dixie Electric Company.” The first 20 songs are as follows:

Get Down Tonight — K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Stayin’ Alive — Bee Gees
Funkytown — Lipps Inc.
Lowdown — Boz Scaggs
Got To Give It Up, Part 1 — Marvin Gaye
I Will Survive — Gloria Gaynor
Play That Funky Music — Wild Cherry
Fire — Ohio Players
Neutron Dance — The Pointer Sisters
Turn The Beat Around — Vicki Sue Robinson
Love Hangover — Diana Ross
That’s The Way (I Like It) — K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Jive Talkin’ — Bee Gees
Boogie Nights — Heatwave
Jungle Boogie — Kool & The Gang
Disco Inferno — The Trammps
(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again — L.T.D.
Dazz — Brick
Fly Robin Fly — Silver Convention
Car Wash — Rose Royce

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31 thoughts on “Dixie Electric Company

  1. The younger members in my 1976 bridal party went to Dixie Electlric between Toledo and Bowling Green Ohio after the bridal dinner. My new husband danced (and I use the term loosely) by himself, while I danced with the best man. The best man was probably the only person in the room who actually knew how to waltz, the rest of us mostly made up our own dances – in some weird attempt to mimic John Travolta.

    • I’m trying to find some photos of the dixie electric company.

      I used to party there back in 75 – 76. Seems like it was just yesterday. They had 4 big JBL speakers high up on poles facing down on each corner of the dance floor.

      They also had a live drummer wearing headphones drumming to the disco tunes.

      The dance floor was lit underneath and would chanhe colors to the music.

      WCOL was Album Rock. Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver” song was hot!

      I remember one of the best sounding songs on that great sound system was “More More More” by the “Andria True Connection”. WOW!!

      The back room had videos on the screens.

      Sometimes I would go to the Agora or the Castle on High St. Then at 2am, buy pizza from Vitos little Pizza truck, parked in front of The Castle. It was 35 cents a slice! I ate the whole pie.

      Somewhere north on High St. back in this neighborhood there was this secret swimmong hole in the woods with a waterfall. I can’t seem to find it using Google Earth or Bing.com Maps. I wanna see it agin!!

      Those wer the days! But alas…. Now I’m old and fat…. But seeing photos of the place would be great!!

      Karl

  2. Dixie was the ultimate disco in central Ohio. New Years Eve at Dixie was almost ‘magical’ with the lights, the decorations, and everyone dressed up in their disco best.

    • I remember the Dixie as THE place to go. Going back to that time just brings back smiles to my face. The Dixie also played ACDC at that time when disco was king. New Years Eve was magical. Just great memories.

  3. WoW, The Dixie Electric Co. Now That a Cool Blast from the Past. I have ALOT of Great memories of going there just about every weekend. So many stories to tell, but unfortunatly I have 1 memory I would choose to forget.
    One Saturday night me and the boy’s were out celebrating one of our buddy’s birthday & recent break-up with his long time girl friend. We started out at the “Crazy Horse Salloon”, and wound up at the “Dixie”. Well to make a even longer story short, after the Bar was closing, some Idiot-Drunken-Fools (who was probably mad cause they struck out at the Dixie, if you know what I mean) started a big fight in the parking lot when all of a sudden ME, and all 5 of my buddies were right in the thick of it. I ended up with Several Stab Wounds, in which 3 of them were near Fatal. The Doctors told my Family & friends That I had actually died 3-times in the emergency room, and chances of recovery were slim. I layed in Intensive care for 3-weeks
    but made a full recovery. Hey, but other then that little thing, The Dixie Electric Company was the Shit ! So many Gorgeous Women, Great Dancing, and JUst Cool ass Times.

  4. Hey all, it’s me again.

    I just realized that out of my last post I forgot to mention what might have been the “funniest” thing that came out of that “Special” night (Now looking Back). After all the fighting was over, someone had called the Police. When they got there and began accessing everything that happened, and they seen all the blood soaked clothes I was then donning (sorry to be so descriptive), my buddies was trying to get me into the cruiser to get me to the nearest hospitol (Doctors West), because no ambulance ever showed up, but the Officer was fighting with my buddies saying “Your not sticking him (Me) in my car with all that Blood, and my so called buddy who drove us all that night was saying “Well he can’t ride in my car cause It’s a Classic (69 Chevelle) and he’ll bleed all over it. The officer turned to him and said “Hey Pal, don’t look now but you’ve been cut and are bleeding too. My buddy took just 1 look down and said ” O-Shit, throw Steve in and lets get the F@@K to the Hospitol, You hit the lights & siren officer and we’re right behind you so H-U-R-R-Y ! ! !

  5. Dixie Electric Company was from home away from home 5 nights a week for a few years. My girlfriends & I were known as “regulars” (there all the time). My husband also went there all of the time. We actually checked each other out for almost 2 years but never met. Then one night we met thru friends. We have been together 29 years now.

  6. The first Dixie was in Hamilton, Ohio. Then became Crackers, then Bonkers, then moved to Fairfield and became Safari Club. The same owner of all things Dixie is still in Fairfield with Brewskes. Other clubs in Ohio: Elis then Oscars in Cincinnati, Henri j’s in Toledo and Rainbows in Columbus. He also opened Arnie’s Sports Bar and Grill in 1989. I’ve worked for him for 10yrs.

    • Ken,
      The days of Dixie in the Seventies were the days of my life. It was comparable in my opinion to the “Roaring Twenties” ! I loved the dances the people were Great and the Nights weren’t long enough…LoL
      I had many photos taken of myself and together with friends that I would pay for if I could locate.
      When Dixie in Hamilton added the raised floor sections on each side of the dance floor..no-one would get up on them. I made a deal with the mgr at the time that if they covered my drinks for the night..I would get up there and dance, and initiate to get others to follow…it worked!
      I loved dancing and met many friends. What I would do to live that era again…thanks for the memories…..

      Bob Cearley

  7. Anyone know what happenned to the photos that were taken at the Hamilton Ohio location in the late Seventies??
    Dixie was the Best! 3 Days a week for me, had many friends there. Can anyone can help me out with this??

    Thanks

  8. Does anyone know who the owner was of Dixie Electric in Columbus, Ohio? 610WTVN had the owner on the radio on Jan 18,2011 where he said he had one last item he found which was a class ring. He said he had a drawer of items which have all been returned to the owners (lost and found) but he would really like to return the ring. The ring is mine from 1978. He gave my name which is signed inside the ring but has been unable to locate me. I would really like to have it back and would appreciate any help!

    Thanks

    • Holy Cow!!!!!! ME!!!!!!!!! Dixie Electric Company, 1976, Wilson Road, Columbus Ohio. Married June 17, 1978. Divorced sometime in 1993.

    • I grew up in Middletown and used to visit the Hamilton & Dayton locations and then went to UD for college and worked as a bouncer in 1984 & 1985 at the Woodman Drive location (was head bouncer for 6 months following Jeff Stoner in that role). Ray Frick was the owner and Chris Thress and another guy were the managers and Jack ?? was the main DJ and his girlfriend was Diane ??. I moved to the Chicago area in early 1986 after graduating from UD, so the Woodman Drive location closed sometime after that.

      Some of the bouncers with me were Rich Miller, Glenn, Tim, Jody, Joe Zink, and the security guards were Harry & Eugene (Carnes).

      Great times!

  9. Friday night,,, 9`pm,,, the lights go dim,,, then outa no where,, the opening riffs of loverboy ” turn me loose ” overpowering all,,,,,,,,,,,,,and you knew you were well on your way to one hellu`va night,,,,, and the woman,,,my God,they looked like they would rock your world,,, and for the most part,,, quite often they did,, soapers n beer,,, ludes,,,, magical,,,,, now as I look back,,, I think man what a ride 1978 -1980

  10. Yeah kids, I met my first exwife at Dixie ( in perrysburg, oh.) 1978 God, I spent a fortune on booze. My friend and I made a pact to go there every nite of the week until one of us said “uncle” After one hundred eighty two nites of beer drinking and partying, I had to call it quits. We had ink stamps up and down both arms that wouldn’t wash off.

  11. I worked at the Dixie between Toledo and Bowling Green in 1974 and 1975. 4000 kids on Saturday nights, if I remember right. Great times!

  12. I worked there in as a boincer 1979-80 – loud music and late nights but a lot of fun too. My old RA Mike Titmuss ran the place then.

  13. I started going to the Perrysburg, Ohio Dixie during the summer of 1976. I mainly attended Thursday night with my friends. I can’t remember how much a pitcher of 3.2 beer cost, but it was affordable! I beleive the last time I stopped in was 1979, but by that time I was dancing on the tables at Ahmeds Bar in the west end of Toledo. Such magical times. And the freedom to perform magic.

  14. I was a Dixie DJ for several years. I started in Perrysburg and then transferred to Cleveland. I would substitute from time to time in Hamilton, Dayton, and Columbus. Had a blast every night of the week.

    • When were you a DJ at perrysburg location ? I use to frequent Dixie in Perrysburg in early 80’s I think the DJ name I remember was Leo (did you know him) I was thinking of putting up a Facebook page for Perrysburg location. I have some pictures I can post. I love to find one of the old Dixie electric beer glasses. Sorry lots of memories coming back.

  15. I think the disco floor is now on the back wall at use to be brewsky’s (now a mexican disco) behind the dj ,….and still lights up…kind of a cool lighting effect

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