Connections Groups

The Business Networking & Social Organization for Central Florida

Private Clubs are the NEW Office for Smart Professionals

Citrus Club's Multi-million Dollar Renovation

This could be YOUR ticket to success...
private clubs save thousands for smart professionals

Facing a country in a recession and looking for ways to increase business, and cut expenses, Orlando area businesswoman, Sue Copening, did something a little "out of the box."

She joined an exclusive, private membership club.

"I needed a place to meet with clients and had budgeted for a "office suite" where I would have an office, access to conference rooms, etc. At the same time I was looking around, a business associate invited me to join him at his private membership club and, suddenly, my whole focus changed."

In Orlando, the home of the "movers & shakers" has always been the Citrus Club. A private membership and dining facility on the top floor of the BB&T high-rise in downtown Orlando, the Citrus Club offers a panoramic view of the Orlando skyline and all the amenities a busy professional could need.

"For me it was perfect. I didn't need clerical support on a regular basis and, when I do, I use a Virtual Assistant. But I did need a place to meet with clients that was affordable, offered a quiet environment, had WiFi, and where we would feel comfortable having a small, or large meeting. The club fit my requirements perfectly."

Many professionals are scaling down now. Companies are trying to lower overhead costs, Small business owners are looking for ways to compete. For many, private clubs are a viable alternative to a full time office and can save thousands of dollars a year.

For instance, a smaller insurance company took the opportunity, when it's lease ran out, to close the doors of it's large office building and to rent a small office for the CEO, VP and some of the support staff to work out of. The members of the sales force are now "homeless" ... still "virtually" connected to the corporate office, but making calls and doing paperwork from their home offices most days. Because the company has had a corporate membership at a private club for years, their sales force meets with clients at the club and, when the company has it's weekly meeting, it uses one of the conference rooms there as well. Estimated savings was about $80K year.

"It is certainly a win-win" ...says one club member. "The club has free WiFi, complimentary coffee, tea and cookies throughout the day, plenty of comfortable and semi-private seating in the living room style setting of the lounge area, a full dining area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner most days, and multiple FREE private conference rooms I can utilize on very short notice. But what I REALLY like, is the service. Frankly it is just more prestigious, and more comfortable, to invite a client here. I find that my client meetings actually last longer, giving me a better chance to close a deal. I give the staff credit for that, they make us feel special."

Recently the Citrus Club had it's grand re-opening, revealing $4 million dollars in renovations. Located on the 18th floor of the BB&T building, the new Citrus Club features

  • Expansion and renovation of the bar, including the addition of casual dining
  • Renovation and enhancements to the lounge, dining and meeting rooms
  • The addition of three new private dining rooms and a new Member dining room
  • Big-screen multimedia room with 103-inch flat screen
  • Office-away-from-office spaces
  • Enhanced integration of cutting-edge technological conveniences
  • Spaces that support a robust programming calendar

Members are using the space to connect, work, host and celebrate.  The transformation fo the Club is one of three club "reinventions" that have taken place, including the Commerce Club in Atlanta and the University Club in San Diego.


Private business and dining clubs can be found in most larger metropolitan areas. But what if you are in a more rural or suburban area? If you are, then golf clubs are the way to go. Found all over the US. Golf Clubs have long recognized the value they provide professionals, and many have recognized the importance of attracting even more "up and coming" business professionals. To this end, many have added WiFi, business centers, and meeting areas to accommodate their needs.

In these high-tech times business professionals have the capability to work pretty much from anywhere. Even though Forest Dunes in Roscommon, Michigan, is located inside a National forest, and is a spot where people typically come to UNplug.. Forest Dunes still recognizes the need for the 21st century professional to stay "connected" and so provide a business center and WiFi in their luxurious clubhouse.

"For corporate execs, we're really more of a 'get away," says Will Ott, a Sales Executive at Forest Dunes "But we attract visitors from nearby cities like Detroit and Chicago, as well as from the south, such as Florida. Because our golf course is ranked 18th in the country, and our luxury cabins have 3-4 bedrooms, we can also be very attractive as a meeting spot or executive retreat for small corporate groups.."

How do you find a private club? Well, obviously you can just look around your own area to see what is convenient. But, if you travel much, you will also want to check into whether the club is "networked" with other clubs, or part of a chain. One of the leading networks of private clubs is Club Corp. A network, or chain, offers the added benefit of reciprocal privileges at fellow clubs and often a variety of "add on" perks to suit any lifestyle (think spa packages, tennis, golf, etc).

In business it's not WHAT you know... it's WHO you know. And getting connected, or "business networking" is another motivation professionals have for joining and "working" out of a club. Members really get to know each other and steer business to fellow members. Many clubs have regular events for the members, such as educational breakfasts, networking events, luncheons, socials and business seminars.

Need to impress a group? If your company needs to host an event... a private club doesn't just rent you a ballroom, they have the staff to handle all the details of the event for you.

"I think it's a tremendous value," says Sue Copening. "In looking at office suites I found the rents to be from $900 to $1500 a month, and I would still need to decorate my office, and pay extra for use of the conference room. At the Citrus Club I get use of the Club, including their fitness center, for about $150 a month. It does cost a bit extra to use the conference rooms, and of course meals and cocktails, but their prices are the same as any upscale restaurant and the ambience is so much more relaxed and conducive to conducting business. I have calculated that membership is saving me 85-90% of what I would have spent on a office, and for a setting that is second to none."

Some clubs have an initiation fee and some require that you be "sponsored" into the club by an existing member. If you don't know an existing member? Then call and find out what events they have coming up that are open to the public (ask about charity and networking events), and attend. You'll meet members there and you can express your interest in joining to them... they'll be happy to help you.

Whether you are looking to downsize, or are looking for a more affordable, and prestigious, setting then a office "mini-suite," then a private club might just fit your needs and save you thousands of dollar a year. Explore your options and think "outside the box."


Now is a great time to think about membership at Orlando's Citrus Club.
Call for more info: 407-443-0348

Views: 1613

Comment by B.F. "Biff" Godfrey on August 7, 2009 at 3:36pm
Sue: As a member of the CC, I would like to tap your experience and khnow how to further my ambitions to recruit memevbers of my various networking groups to join the CC.
Give me a couple of datesw and times we acould meet to discuss this.
Thanks, hoping to see you again soon. Biff
Comment by B.F. "Biff" Godfrey on August 7, 2009 at 3:37pm
Plese excuse my typing skills.
Comment by Sue Copening on August 7, 2009 at 4:02pm
Hi Biff...

I have one gal joining me for lunch on Monday... are you going to be around the club? If so, why not join us? We can all chat, and perhaps you'll have a friend that is interested that you can invite as well.
Comment by Paul Daigle on August 13, 2009 at 10:52am
Had a good time, I gave 2 refurrals today.. its a good day
Comment by Sue Copening on August 13, 2009 at 11:05am
Good for YOU Paul!

As you know, there were over 95 people at the Speed Networking - Citrus Connections event last night. With the great networking events they put together, complimentary continental breakfast for members, $5 lunches on Mondays and ALL the other great things they have to offer... Citrus Club IS the place to be if you want to take your business to the next level.

With the economy the way it is... people need to pull their head out of the sand, stop doing the same old things that aren't working for them and START doing something different and looking for NEW avenues to grow their business.

If you are going to be "fishing for business" need to be fishing in a fully stocked pond. With all the business "movers and shakers" that are members at the club, it's certainly well stocked!

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Albert Einstein.

The August "special" for new members is SO affordable it's almost laughable. I joined back in the "old days" and pay a lot more.... but I still did enough business the first month as a member, from leads I got from the club, that I "recouped" my years membership cost in that very first month.... a GREAT return on investment.... I'm so SO glad I joined.
Comment by A.J. Gonzalez on September 16, 2009 at 6:11pm
I am interested in participating in the lunch & tour, but this week i am pretty busy. There is other day we can go. Also i can bring some professionals partners. Please let me know if there is other day available.
My Phone Number is (407)719-3311
Take care,

A.J. Gonzalez


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