With the decline of population in the local area, support for area businesses sometimes becomes problematic - not enough customers.
One place that felt the result of a loss of customers, in this case members, was the Frank Acquavia Memorial Post in Dunkirk, which was closed last year, put on the market, and recently sold.
The Lake Shore Marine Crops League on Route 5 in Sheridan is in the same position as the Acquavia Post: dwindling membership and participation leading to its closing and being put up for sale.
OBSERVER Photo by Gib Snyder
The Lake Shore Marine Corps League on Route 5 in Sheridan has closed and is now for sale. An auction of some equipment will be held June 21.
Brian Schneider is a veteran, retired from the United States Marine Corps, and the paymaster of the detachment, handling membership in addition to being on the board of directors.
He told the OBSERVER the detachment will keep its charter, but will have no home.
"The problem at the Marine Corps League is a problem that all the veterans' clubs are having. It is hard to get young veterans to join the organizations. There are many reasons for this, but basically everyone is too busy and they don't have time," Schneider explained. "All the veterans' clubs need young veterans and their families to join and become involved before other clubs close their doors. The problems at the Marine Corps were compounded by an aging membership and the passing of the few dependable volunteers. We were hard-hit during the recession and never recovered."
Schneider was hoping veterans see the need to join a veterans club.
"The veterans' clubs are there for veterans and local communities. They are there for a place for veterans to go for assistance, all kinds of information, fun, and a place to be around other veterans," he added. "Veterans' clubs also take care of flags, graves, military funerals and annual patriotic ceremonies. If veterans don't join the clubs, these things may fade away as our memberships dwindle."
Carl Yale is the treasurer of the board of directors and junior vice commander. Yale retired from the Marines as a major after beginning his career as a private.
The League was incorporated in 1967, according to Yale, and moved into the former Lighthouse Restaurant in the 1970s. He said the League had a bad time in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and a refinanced mortgage that cut the payment by more than half was not enough.
State laws governing fundraising activities did not help either.
"I had a meeting with the board and we decided to close April 30. ... We have about 30 Marines, but all they do is send in their dues and they never show up. ... We were just going downhill financially," Yale said. "The building was too big for our clientele, let's put it that way. We just didn't have enough people to keep the club open."
An auction will be held June 21 to sell items such as a big-screen television, an old-fashioned jukebox, ice machines, picnic tables and some long tables.
Hartung Real Estate is handling the sale of the building and property it sits on.
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