Everlands private membership club has stopped all its sales and marketing efforts.
The 55 to 60 members will continue to enjoy the club benefits and the parent company "Lifestyle Development" will continue to manage and operate the boutique inns and lodges that the company had acquired for the club.
"Like many business we have found it to be tough sledding and we perceive the next 6 to 18 months to be even more difficult" said Ken May, CEO of Everlands. "We have adjusted the company to have overheads as low as possible" he continued.
These inns and lodges have been purchased over the last year or two. The plan was to keep them available to the public as the club built up its membership, and then take them totally private as the number of club members closed in on the target of 1,800.
The clubs residences include: The Point lodge in the Adirondacks originally built by William Avery Rockefeller; The Farm, a 1691 estate on Martha's Vineyard; Lone Mountain Ranch a 160 acre ranch property just eighteen miles from Yellowstone National Park; and one of Alaska's premier world-class wilderness fishing lodges, Bristol Bay Lodge comprising over 150 acres of pristine wilderness. The club also had properties in England and New Zealand.
The membership fee was 1 million dollars, but the club had been offering early-in opportunities for "Founding Memberships" starting at 475,000. Annual dues of $40,000 covered all amenities and services.
The club was launched at the end of 2007 and the timing clearly proved to be inauspicious as the whole global economy slowed in 2008. In addition Lehman Brothers was the clubs major financial backer, and the collapse of Lehman last year severely dented the available capital. The club has already laid off most members of the clubs executive management but has maintained the staff at the lodges and inns.
Other wealthy founders have also tried to build ultra exclusive global clubs along similar models, but the overall track record so far is not encouraging. Ciel was founded by billionaire J. Joe Ricketts, the founder of Ameritrade, but changed direction in 2007. Yellowstone Club World was founded by billionaire Tim Blixseth, but closed in 2008 with the bankruptcy of his related Yellowstone Club. The more modest, and just plain comfortably luxurious clubs such as Exclusive Resorts and A & K Residence Club are having much more success. Although the economy has somewhat slowed down these clubs as well.