Bay Terrace Country Club overcame inadvertent camouflage by inviting the community to their grounds for an open market that featured local vendors and spread the word about the Bayside, N.Y. club.
Some clubs inadvertently hide in plain sight; when that’s the case, a little community exposure can go a long way.
Tucked at the end of a dead-end street in Bayside, N.Y., facing Little Neck Bay, Bay Terrace Country Club has been one of those under-the-radar clubs for most of its 50-plus years of existence. But Bay Terrace recently turned to a few creative methods to help make its presence known and bring its membership development efforts out from under wraps.
To attract newcomers to its sprawling property, the swim club hosted an open market on club grounds, displaying the wares of 25 local vendors who each entered into an agreement for space. The club received between $50 and $60 for each 10×10 space with a tent or an umbrella, a 6×6 table, two chairs and designated parking for one car. Some small additional revenue came from sales of refreshments, books and chairs no longer used by the club.
THE GOAL: Introduce Bay Terrace Country Club to the community and mine new member leads after 51 years of hiding in plain sight.
Through postings on Craigslist and by visiting other fairs in the area, the club sought out vendors of clothes, jewelry, gift baskets and more. Response from vendors like New Yawk Baking Company and Elements Healing Arts Center Massage was so overwhelming, Bay Terrace was forced to turn away 10 potential participants.
Board member/officer and committee chair Giovanna Guerci coordinated the event over six months of strategic planning. Event promotion was a team effort, with committee members disseminating flyers and printing a blurb in the local newspaper and on community web event postings.
“Because we are a members-only club, a lot of people do not know that we are here,” Guerci said. “Events like our market help get the word out to the community that the Bay Terrace Country Club is here for all to enjoy.”
Despite a misty rain, more than 100 people attended the event, which was held from noon to 4 p.m. on a Saturday. In addition to vendors, the club hired a D.J., planned activities, handed out door prizes and had offerings for kids with balloon animals, face painting and tattoo transfers.
“The day had a good feel to it. Flowers bloomed. Our property is a little jewel, and all of the attendees were very pleased,” Guerci said.
The privately owned co-operative has 200 equity members and an equal or greater number of seasonal members. After a multimillion-dollar renovation years ago, Bay Terrace saw a drop in membership, as the costs proved too much for some members.
The club plans to follow up on member leads it gained from the open-market event through e-mail and invitations to open houses.
While Bay Terrace is called a country club, it still remains primarily a swim club and as such may not have all of the facilities and amenities that more families are now looking for.
But Guerci feels that events like the open market can have tremendous value in exposing potential new members to the full breadth of what the club can offer, including a basketball court, book club, Texas Hold ‘Em poker club, swimming programs, themed gatherings and more.
Up next for the club will be a casino night, which it started planning nearly two years ago, using “funny money” so a special permit won’t be necessary. Events like these that can expand the use of, and exposure to, the Bay Terrace facility during the off-season are ideal, says Guerci.
“The response to our open market has been extraordinary, and we hope to continue it next year,” she says.