President’s Letter – February 2021

Read February 2021’s Terminal City Times here!

Dear fellow members,

I’m tired of COVID-19. Thank goodness there’s football.

I love the NFL playoffs. We’ve seen some spectacular football the last few weeks, but often overlook the basics: blocking and tackling. You’re probably wondering “How does this relate to the Terminal City Club?” Well, COVID-19 has devastated many businesses in Vancouver, in Canada, and around the world. Fortunately, our Club is weathering the storm relatively well (emphasis on relatively).

It helps that we entered pre-pandemic 2020 in a strong financial position, achieved through a sustained effort over the past several years to grow our business. The financial crisis of 2008/09 exposed weaknesses in our game plan that have since been corrected. Basic things, blocking and tackling. These included:

Paying down long term debt by $2.6 million between 2015-2020. Long term debt now stands at $6.5 million. We have also reduced the average weighted interest rate on our three loans to 4.38%.

In 2012 the Board established a Capital Reserve Fund, that fund has paid out $2.4 million since inception and has a value of $1.9 million today – this money is set aside to repair and upgrade the building’s infrastructure as well as things that we take for granted like the roofs, parking lot repairs, plumbing and elevators.

Crawling out from under the financial burden of the Club’s pension plan, which was wound up between 2013 and 2017.
Shedding the management of hotel operations in 2014, which freed the Club from an arrangement that had required a great deal of work in return for very little monetary gain.

These efforts – and others outlined in our Strategic Plans – have paid off, with TCC’s membership showing a net gain of about 64 Shareholding members per year since 2015, and revenue numbers steadily increasing over the past five years. Our success was highlighted this past Fall, when Terminal City Club was announced as the winner of the CSCM’s “Club of the Year” for 2020.

The financial steps outlined above prepared us well for an economic downturn, although nothing in our planning could have prepared us for the challenges of COVID-19. Government programs and wage support helped the Club to defer and/or minimize the blow to our employees. Management were forced to pivot our various lines of business on a dime. Back to basics, blocking and tackling.

The Terminal City Club is on a more stable financial footing than many in our industry, but it is hardly a time to relax. Necessary public health measures dealt a blow to food and beverage revenues, reducing them over 70% year-over-year March to December. The pandemic has significantly decreased revenue from the TCC parking lot and the Lions Pub. Businesses that rent space around the perimeter of the building are struggling, and need our understanding and patience. While TCC membership numbers have seen a small net increase since March 2020 (a remarkable feat in itself), many of our previously very active members are (understandably) spending less time, and therefore money, at the Club.

All this to say that 2020 and 2021 will likely go down as two of the most challenging years in the Club’s 128-year history. Nonetheless, your Board is up to the challenge. Terminal City Club will survive this challenge and thrive in the years to come, as it has done emerging from other crisis periods of the past.

Like any team, we are only as strong as our members, so let me thank you again for your understanding, support, and loyalty. It makes a world of difference to our success.

I hope you are able to take some time out to enjoy the Super Bowl, but don’t get caught offside – make a plan for Valentine’s Day, just around the corner!

Sincerely,

Stewart Marshall
Terminal City Club President

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