New Beach Club Operators Show Work In Progress
Through a competitive open bidding process, a first of its kind for the beach clubs, the company was awarded a ten-year concession to run the Silver Gull Beach Club and the Breezy Point Surf Club. The company has said from the onset that they want to focus more on the hospitality aspect of the clubs by creating a better experience for their seasonal guests.
To start, the clubs are busy getting ready for the new summer season by adding $2 million in renovations and improvements to the two clubs. The Wave was given a tour of the clubs this week to check on the progress and talk about the many questions raised by both the community and the club’s members or seasonal pass holders, as they are referred to now.
According to general manager Tom Sullivan, the Breezy Point Surf Club is undergoing the greater renovation. Most of the budgeted $2 million in immediate repairs to get the clubs ready for the 2012 season will be funneled into that location “only because that club [Silver Gull] is in better shape and a lot newer,” Sullivan said.
During the tour of the facility he was asked about membership renewals and how a changing of the guard at the clubs affected seasonal pass holders. The “confusion” of the situation, as he described it, is what he believes, in part, led to about a 10 percent drop todate of seasonal pass holders from last year. That number can, of course, increase and he expects it to as the summer gets closer. But admittedly, the changing of owners did leave people with a sense of unfamiliarity.
The experience, however, appears to be on the way to improving. The clubs are planned to become more of a destination or resort of some kind for its guests who can expect a wider array of activities and amenities outside of just the beach, a pool and their cabana. There will be live entertainment, an air conditioned recreation room with bar, a new fitness center and more amenities for both adults and children. A brand new baseball field is also being placed at the Breezy Point Surf Club. Starting next year there will be a daycare facility at that location as well.
As far as recruitment goes, by mandate, everyone had to go through the interview process to be hired under the new operators. Sullivan says the company hired locally, however, and recruited many of the same staff from previous seasons due to their exposure and experience with the club’s clientele. A smooth transition is key, Sullivan said, while trying to enhance the experience of their members. He said his new boss, Ortega Family Enterprises, a family owned and operated business, really wants to stress the hospitality aspects of the club.
The club will also offer daily passes for people just wanting to spend a handful of afternoons at the club. There is a maximum of three visits per season using the day pass, after which the family is required to become members.
The club anticipates everything to be renovated and complete in time for Memorial Day when they officially open.