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Clubs at Quantico opens doors to public

27 Nov 2013 | Mike DiCicco

The Clubs at Quantico isn’t just for the Marine Corps anymore. The facility, now officially the Clubs at Quantico and Crossroads Events Center, has been open to the public as an event venue since late August. Now, the club is trying to get the word out to neighboring communities.

Gary Munyan, the facility’s director, said the change represents an opportunity to bring in additional revenue while continuing to foster community relations. He said a study had shown that the venue is underutilized, while there is a broad base of potential customers just outside Marine Corps Base Quantico’s gates. Meanwhile, as a revenue-generating activity, the venue receives no federal funding except the room rentals that are covered for command events.

“The ultimate goal is to get the Clubs to break even,” Munyan said. “We determined there was just a huge amount of business out in the civilian communities. We think the potential for increased revenue and to generate sales is unlimited.”

In accordance with Marine Corps Order P1700.27B, the Clubs had to get written agreements from local community leaders to obtain the waiver necessary to open its doors to civilian customers. Munyan took the case to the Prince William and Fredericksburg Regional chambers of commerce and received a “very favorable response,” he said. The facility is now a member of both chambers and will stage an open house with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 30.

He noted that the Clubs has an in-house catering staff, and he hired an executive chef a year ago in anticipation of going public. “We are custom caterers, so we do have a brochure, but Chef Frank is able to do just about anything,” he said, referring to Frank Murnane, a retired Marine who has been the personal chef to commandants of the Marine Corps, including Gen. James Jones.

The Clubs will maintain its officers’, staff noncommissioned officers’ and enlisted clubs and will still host professional military education events and other command functions, Munyan said. The area open to reservations for the public will be the ballroom, which can be broken into four smaller ballrooms, has the capacity to seat about 400 guests and also opens into smaller breakout rooms.

Munyan said each of the four possible ballrooms is outfitted with audiovisual equipment, and he noted that the facility has free wireless internet, free parking, no sales tax and easy access from Route 1 and Interstate 95, all making it an attractive venue.

“We’re actually going to be going out in town and soliciting business from the community,” he said, adding that events envisioned for the Clubs include weddings, bar mitzvahs, conferences, corporate events and celebrations by civic organizations.

The first wedding has already been booked.

Clubs at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., have already made similar moves, and Munyan noted that here at Quantico, the Medal of Honor Golf Course has been open to the public for a few years.

“We’re just trying to get the word out to the general public that they can come in and access the golf course,” said David Hansinger, general manager at the golf course. He said the course hasn’t yet worked with local chambers of commerce and that he was pleased Munyan is reaching out on behalf of both facilities.

Hansinger said the decision to open the course to the public was “pretty much financially driven. We’re trying to increase our numbers to be financially sustainable.”

Area residents now have the opportunity to play a traditional-style course they wouldn’t have had access to a few years ago, “a fun course, and it’s easy to walk,” he said.

“We’re pretty price-conscious and price within the market in the area,” he added.

He and Munyan said they hoped to create some synergy between the two facilities to draw customers from the surrounding communities.

“This is huge for us,” Munyan said.

— Writer: mdicicco@quanticosentryonline.com