You will never know how good an idea is until you “float” it.
That’s what Hyde Perce did four years ago, and the results have been like a tidal wave for the Wilmette Harbor Club, according to the group’s president, Matt Bevenour.
Bevenour credits Perce, the group’s executive director, for bringing floating docks to the harbor, leading to a 27 percent, or 75-boat, increase in mooring capacity. Thanks to the added slips, the club’s membership and revenue have surged, enabling a significant renovation of the group’s clubhouse at 20 Harbor Drive.
The facility now includes an expanded deck, slider windows, renovated bathrooms, fire pits and, for the first time, a full-service bar.
“I can’t think of a (local) outdoor spot where you can dine and look out at the water,” Bevenour said. “We’re really lucky to have a spot to dine and have a drink looking over Wilmette Harbor. It’s been a huge draw.”
The additional boat slips have also allowed the harbor club to shrink its waiting list. Bevenour said the average wait is now estimated at four years. It used to be 18.
“It’s been a gamechanger financially and also a gamechanger for our waiting list,” he said of the floating docks.
The Wilmette Harbor Club, also known as the Wilmette Harbor Association, was formed in 1922 and is now a nonprofit organization that has approximately 1,400 members — more than 1,000 of whom are social members. That number has increased about 300 in the past four years, Bevenour said.
The club is also home to the Sheridan Shore Yacht Club and Sheridan Shore Sailing School, as well as the Rotary Club of Wilmette Harbor. And the facilities can be rented out for private events, such as weddings, birthday parties and business gatherings.
The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.
Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.
Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.