Town Club Fails, Will Shut Friday
By Rick Fitzgerald
BUSINESS LABOR REPORTER
Unable to overcome its financial problems, the Ann Arbor Town Club, at 210 W. Washington St., will lock its doors after dinner Friday night.
“Unless there are a number of Messiahs out there, Friday will be the last day,” said club President L. Mack Woodruff. “We went broke.”
Woodruff had sent the club’s 1,500 members two letters explaining the financial situation and asking for a special $300 assessment from each to keep the club open. By this morning club manager Harold Coolman had gotten commitments from 111 members. He needed a response from 750.
“IT ALL STEMS back to one thing,” Coolman said. “The dues were not the right amount.”
Dues were raised to $100 this fall, but had been set at $75 for the last five years and $50 before that. They needed to be about $200, Coolam said.
“Friday night will be our last night and we expect a good crowd,” Coolman said. The club will have a buffet dinner along with a limited menu.
According to Woodward’s first letter to the membership, the club is behind in payments to its landlord and other creditors. But he said what really hurt the club were bad months in January and February.
He said the club might have been able to hang on “handto-mouth” if it had not been for those two months.
“We’re all sick about this, but there is no sense prolonging this any longer,” Woodward said.
BUT WHILE the club will end its 37-year history in Ann Arbor Friday, there is a feeling among some members the city will not be long without a private club.
“It seems highly unlikely Ann Arbor is going to do without a private club,” Woodward said. “I know of a number of individuals who have indicated an interest in starting another club.”
And Coolman, who has been a club member since its first year, also said he “wouldn’t be surprised” to see another private club started.