Good year for Planters Club

Published 9:39 pm Friday, August 11, 2017

The Planters Club of Suffolk recorded a profitable fiscal year and had some upgrades this year that officials hope will make it an even more attractive option for those searching for a medium-sized events venue, officials said this week.

Located on the shoreline of the Nansemond River and adjacent to Sleepy Hole Park, the city-owned venue features a 2,500-square foot banquet room with a raised stage and fully equipped commercial kitchen.

Electrical improvements in the past fiscal year added more power for sound systems and other event amenities, according to Suffolk Parks and Recreation assistant director Helen Gabriel.

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For each occasion, the facility accommodates up to 144 guests, and the main room is customized according to whatever renters have in mind.

“That’s a big draw,” Gabriel said. “The floor is just a wide-open floor, so those that rent are provided with the setup that they want. It’s the perfect venue for the not-too-big, not-too-small event.”

Many are stunned when they go through the room’s double doors and onto the 450 feet of open deck space that offers a picturesque view of the Nansemond River.

“The photo opportunities are grand,” she said.

The Planters Club generated more than $90,000 in the fiscal year from July 1, 2016, to June 30, with an average annual operating cost of about $13,600, Gabriel said.

“I would say the Planters Club exceeds the typical expectation based on other venues that are in South Hampton Roads,” Gabriel said.

She said the venue had 249 rentals in the last fiscal year. Weddings are the most common, followed by anniversaries and other celebrations. Corporations also make use of the space for training events.

“It’s cool when we get these 50-year anniversary celebrations or renewing wedding vows,” Gabriel said.

The Suffolk Office on Youth held its first therapeutic summer camp, Camp Limitless, at the venue from June 26 to July 26. Campers with special needs enjoyed arts and crafts, group games, outdoor activities and trips that encouraged new experiences.

“We wanted to test pilot the program at the Planters Club, and it worked really well,” Gabriel said. “Our staff were able to utilize the outdoor area and incorporate that into the curriculum.”

For the next fiscal year, Parks and Recreation is looking to renovate and prepare the Planters Club for weekends booked for events up until the end of December.

“It’s a very beautiful, quaint and cozy facility that gets a lot of usage,” she said.