Economic needs hit the country club set in Bradenton

MANATEE — Even the community’s elite have become more cost-conscious in today’s economy and nothing reflects that more vividly than changes undertaken by local country clubs since 2008.

Initiation fees have dropped by the thousands. Sunday brunches that used to offer major lunch and dinner-like entrees have been downscaled to breakfast spreads. Different types of memberships geared toward recruiting younger members, as well as those interested in lower monthly dues, are being created. And staff members are being asked to take on more responsibilities as some clubs have trimmed their workforces.

“This economy requires a whole lot more management technique,” says Jim Brand, general manager of the Bradenton Country Club. “You really have to get down and look at everything. Because we’re not only fighting the economy in general; we’re also being hit with ever-increasing costs, in food, beverages, fuel, transportation ... all of that is kicking us right in the back and we can’t just turn around and raise our prices to our members.”

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