Co-Op: Clubs

Back in Junior High School a bunch of us got together to form a Chess Club.  There was little formality or organization.  It was just a few people who got together once a week to play chess.  We had a couple of boards and some mismatched pieces, but were able to make do with what we had.  We'd teach newcomers how to play, coach each other, and have tournements.  We didn't win anything but bragging rights and that was good enough.

There are all kinds of clubs out there.  Years back I worked in a restaurant that was closed between lunch and dinner.  A bridge club found out the place was empty and worked out a deal with the owner.  They bought coffee and tea, the owner let them have the run of the place.  I've got a nephew in a gun club.  They go to shows, shooting matches, and compete in events.  It's their thing.  A fried of mine does the coupon thing.  She'll get together with some of her coupon friends and do whatever it is they do with coupons.  I don't really understand what it is they do, but they are quite serious about it.
Years back, I got with a few friends to make homebrew.  We chipped in a few bucks, bought some equipment and made a batch of beer every couple weeks.  The equipment might have cost 20 bucks each.  We were all broke back then.  $60 was a big chunk of change.  We could swing 20 each so chipping in made it possible.  A batch ran 15 bucks, gave up 2 1/2 cases of pretty darn good beer.  $5 for 20 beers was a pretty good price!

These clubs are social groups rather than business groups.  There's not a whole lot of money in chess.  Small batches of beer is a hobby that only needs a few people to split the costs and still have enough beer to make it worthwhile.  Bridge players need groups of 4 at a time.  Cards and notepads are easy enough to come by, but tables, chairs, and room for 20 people is more demanding.  A place to do their thing is all that is needed for a great many clubs to do their thing.

There would be a few things that would make the place ideal for club use.  

  • Enough space for the people to do their thing.  
  • Tables and chairs
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Lighting
  • Electricity
  • A clean bathroom

The Co-Op would have a need for a meeting room with all of the above features.  Committees would use it.  Such a space would be suitable for classes, lectures, and special events.  We could use the space for serving dinners.  The space becomes a Function Room.  When not in use by the Co-Op, this space could be used by clubs or any group wishing to do their thing.  Rent it out.  We can sell drinks, sandwiches, and even cater events. 

Rent for the room would be pretty reasonable.  Perhaps $20 for an afternoon or evening.  The expenses involved are electricity to keep the lights and air conditioner running, and bathroom supplies.  Looking at the arithmetic, $10/day, 30 days/month, $300/month would not be impossible.  It would take time to fill the schedule with regular reservations, but with each club more people are brought out to the site to give the co-op much needed exposure.  With soft drinks and food available, a few people per day will add greatly to sales.  10 people each day spending an average of 5 bucks gives us a $1500/month boost. 

We provide a low cost location.  The clubs provide hungry, thirsty customers.  These folks are not necessarily involved in the Co-Op.  Clubs serve as a means of drawing the general public to the farm or store.  We gain exposure.

Let's have a look at these clubs and see how it would work.

  • Bridge Club
  • Chess Club
  • Couponers
  • Crafters
  • Homebrew
  • Quilting
  • Books and Poetry
  • Garden Club

Chess Club
Get the word out, invite people to come and play chess.  The website forums would be one way to let people know what's going on.   This club is on their own to handle how they organize.  The chess club needs boards, pieces, clocks, and if they wish to hold rated tournaments, they could put together the procedures and recordkeeping for that.  Admission to the club could be free, or the club could charge some nominal fee, say, a couple of bucks each week, to join in the fun and excitement.  The money collected would pay for the room rental fee, and start to accumulate some of the needed gear. 

They'll need a place to store that gear.  At the same time, we'll need a countertop if we are to host events with a buffet.  Adding cabinets under the buffet gives the clubs a place to store their game pieces or other equipment rather than haul it out of their cars each week.  We could charge a few bucks a month to the club, or offer the space as an enticement to keep coming back regularly. 


If we already have the room, implementing this project does not cost us a thing.  All we are doing is putting to use the resources which would otherwise sit dormant.



Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline