Technically, the club is closed on Mondays. But on Monday, March 22, hundreds of women filed into the new Sarasota Yacht Club building for a Junior League of Sarasota fashion show and luncheon. According to incoming General Manager Bernhard Kloppenburg, the yacht club has been busier than ever as members and the general public continue to seek out their first glimpses of the new building — even though the grand opening is more than a month away, scheduled for April 23 through April 25.
“It’s been anything but a soft opening,” Kloppenburg said. “The demand is so powerful.”
The building has been nearly two-and-a-half years in the making. At the end of 2007, members voted to demolish its clubhouse, which was built in 1958, because it had structural problems that would have taken three to four years to repair at a cost of $3 million to $4 million. The club operated out of a temporary tent facility for 18 months during the construction of the new, $14.5 million, 22,600-square-foot building.
On Saturday, March 6, the club held a boaters breakfast in the tent. Then, for the next 12 hours, staff members worked tirelessly to move into the new building, working with a five-page, 19-point plan from Kloppenburg. The moving process was finished by 11 p.m. that night. And the club was ready Tuesday, March 9, when the Admiralty Society held an event.
Since then, the club has served 1,750 meals per week, more than four times the number the club served when it operated out of the tent facility.
For now, both members and staff are enjoying the new building.
“It’s just breathtaking,” Kloppenburg said. “It’s like a five-star hotel without the rooms.”
At the March 29 membership meeting, Bernhard Kloppenburg will become general manager of Sarasota Yacht Club. Kloppenburg began his career with the Sarasota Kennel Club 30 years ago and has worked around the country with Aramark.
He became food-and-beverage consultant at Sarasota Yacht Club Dec. 1 and was appointed interim manager Jan. 1.
Contact Robin Hartill at email@example.com.
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