The Fort Smith Town Club closed its doors Tuesday (Jan. 6), more than three weeks before the original closing date of Jan. 31.
Town Club board member Phil White said scheduling and inventory issues created operational difficulties and the decision was made to close early.
“It became apparent that an earlier closing made more financial sense,” White told The City Wire.
White said the about 13,000-square-foot building situated prominently on Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith has two prospective buyers. Also, White said, First National Bank of Fort Smith, which holds the note on the property, “is being very gracious and working with us” to find another owner.
“This is not a foreclosure,” White explained.
In mid-December, Town Club Manager Engin Tuncay and White said the board decided they “weren’t doing enough business to justify staying open.” The Town Club, which employed 10 full-time and 6 part-time employees, first opened 50 years ago. (Link here for the Dec. 16 story about the closing.)
Ken Pyle, director of the Fort Smith Housing Authority and president of the Fort Smith Rotary Club, had to scramble Tuesday afternoon to find a new location for the club’s Wednesday (Jan. 6) meeting. He was notified about 3 p.m. the Town Club would not be open for the Rotary Club’s regular weekly meeting. Fortunately, Pyle had already laid the groundwork in finding a new location for the 75 to 90 Rotary members who attend the weekly meetings. The Rotary Club has 128 members, Pyle said.
“I happened to have, just an hour before that, talked the the folks at the Holiday Inn about moving ... and then four or five hours later i get this other call,” Pyle explained. “They (Holiday Inn staff) reacted well. ... They were wonderful to get this together so fast.”
The Rotary Club will meet Jan. 6 in the Belle Starr room at the Holiday Inn City Center in downtown Fort Smith. The Rotary board convenes after the regular meeting to consider a new, permanent location.