Looking to downsize, Kitchener’s Schwaben Club found an ideal spot in the former SAVA Club in Breslau, which will be its new home.
The changing demographics and shrinking membership that have been at play at many of the traditional German clubs in K-W earlier this year forced changes at the Slovenian Association, which had operated the Oberkrainer Haus on Scheifele Place for some six decades. The same issues at play at the Schwaben Club led to the decision to trade in a hall with capacity for 700 for the 200 in Breslau.
The timing worked out just fine for the German club, said president Glenn Herold.
“The whole thing started almost a year ago, when SAVA Club indicated they might be looking to move. We were actually at one of their events with a number of our youth, and they really enjoyed the fact that we had young people there, enjoying the culture and dressed up in our traditional attire and dancing. And so they asked if it would ever be something of interest for us to purchase their location. We kept in touch with each other for a number of months, and then when they finally made the decision that they wanted to relocate, I had to bring it forward to my membership and see if that was something that we’d be interested in doing,” he explained.
The new location is a good fit for a number of reason, Herold said.
“In part it is the property. It is a beautiful spot with the parkland, so it’s much more family oriented,” he said in comparison to the Schwaben Club’s location on King Street East in Kitchener.
He noted the smaller size of the new location makes it more manageable. The move will allow the club to retain its full-time staff member, but they will still rely heavily on their volunteer core. With the building’s smaller footprint, however, the club is currently selling off some of its equipment and supplies before setting up shop in Breslau.
Club members are excited about the move, Herold said, adding he’s had good feedback from Breslau residents anticipating the relocation.
“On the positive side, because of recent media coverage, we’ve actually been getting a lot of people from the Breslau area reaching out to us and telling us how much they’re looking forward to us being there. So, I think we will be a good fit in the community.”
Known for hosting a large Oktoberfest gathering, the Schwaben Club will continue that tradition, Herold stressed.
“We will have Oktoberfest, that’s always the big one, but all of our cultural events that we traditionally do, and then we will be having… the occasional Friday night fundraising event. We’d open it up to the local community to come in and join us for, say, a schnitzel dinner or beer night or something.”
Although the exact moving date has yet to be determined, the building will be the club’s as of January when the Slovenian organization shuts its doors for the last time.