An Alarming Trend with Bottle Clubs

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Where are we without our bottle clubs?

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FOHBCFaceBookArtThis is the second e-mail that I have received from one of our important bottle clubs that concerns me greatly. I was able to touch on the topic in my latest FOHBC President’s Message (see below) in the latest issue of Bottles and Extras. I would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks

Ferdinand Meyer V (FOHBC President)

 

 

Communication 1

To whom it may concern,

The Apple Valley Bottle Collectors Club (AVCC), after almost 40 years, is disbanding. With a lot of our older members dying off and not able to recruit new members, we have decided to close the doors. We through a big Christmas Party, but still have some funds left over that we would like to donate to FOHBC.

Please let me know where I can send a check.

Thanks,

Rich
President, Acting Treasure, Show Chairman and Newsletter Publisher
Apple Valley Bottle Collectors Club
Winchester, Virginia

Communication 2

Alan (DeMaison – FOHBC Business Manager),

Not sure if you are the right person to contact or not. If not, please pass on accordingly. I am the current President of the Pennsylvania Bottle Collectors Association. A club that “back in the 1970’s had over 200 members. I recently acquired a first year collection of newsletters revealing how dynamic the club was in the beginning. We are down to “about” 20 members. Maybe 10-12 are active? Most are getting up there in years and have been instrumental in keeping the club alive. At 46 years old, I am probably the youngest member. I “desperately” need to develop a “realistic” plan to grow our membership before we disappear entirely. My first approach is to develop a simple web site so we can post meeting dates/times, location etc… As we gain interest from someone, we will have somewhere to direct them for information about our club. Does the FOHBC provide any assistance with the development of a web site? I am even willing to personally pay for this development. I doubt we have enough members to come up with the needed funds. Can you point me in the right direction?

In addition…..any ideas with regards to attracting new members? I “personally” believe that my age group is probably a good target age for new membership. I am at a point where the kids have moved out, my career is stable and there is time to reflect back on American history and get back to hobbies. I’m not sure younger people would have an interest. Several club members have expressed a desire to bring back the “York” bottle show. I think this is a great goal but we currently do not have enough members to make this happen. I cannot do it on my own and I have a full time+ job. I did visit the Baltimore Bottle Club for ideas. They have strong membership numbers and enough people to keep the club dynamic. Any assistance from FOHBC to help save the PABCA is be appreciated.

Regards,

Tom Grove
Pennsylvania Bottle Collectors Association
Dover, Pennsylvania

Follow-up

I look forward to hearing some ideas. In this “day and age” a web site is almost a necessity “in my opinion”. Any local interest in bottles needs to be pulled to a site via a Google search. Currently an Internet search would track down a long time member and co-author of the York bottle book, Don Hartman at his home. This is good but a web site detailing what the club is all about would be better. I am not a web site designer. The new FOHBC web site is super!!

A few ideas for soliciting new members that other club members have expressed.

A weekend set up in Bedford Street Antiques in Carlisle, Pa with a focus on antique bottles.

A weekend set up at the local Mall or even Historical Society with a focus on antique bottles.

I “personally” continue to present a program called “Backyard Archeology” that has been well received but generates new privy digs not club members. To date I have given this to several Historical Societies, Senior Clubs and even an adult learning program for Penn State (OLLI). Google…Tom Grove…Privy Digger…and you should see a local Newspaper Article.

I would like to see an updated version of the York Bottle Book published. Club members feel it would be too much money.

Bring back the York bottle show. There are many folks who speak fondly of this event. I never experience this show.

Of course, if we start to pull in new members and do not have interesting programs, we will be back to square #1.

Thanks for getting the word out. I do not want to be the last President of the Pennsylvania Bottle Collectors!

Tom Grove

Response from Los Angeles Club President Dave Maryo

Hello Tom,

Our Los Angeles club had some membership problems over the last decade. I did not realize how close our club was to ending after so many years when I became president of the club. The membership had dwindled over the years when people moved away we did not get new members to replace them. We had a website at the time but it was rarely updated. I took over the website in 2009 and started updating the website with a new message every month. The website update takes time and effort. Ferdinand makes the website business look easy as he updates the Peachridge Glass and FOHBC websites on nearly a daily basis. But those updates take time and effort.

You are right that the website makes a difference. Over the last couple of years the Los Angeles club has picked up nearly a dozen members that found our club through the website. Some of the new members are much younger than I would have expected. We have two new members in our club that joined in the last couple years. One is a college student that is studying glassblowing and the other is a young lady collecting sodas that is just a few years away from being a teenager. Many younger folks are interested in bottles. Bottle shows also help keep the membership alive. The Los Angeles club has had 46 bottle shows since 1966.

Our website is hosted by IX Webhosting. They do a good job of hosting our site and have tools that allow me to update the website without expensive software that is required to manage some websites. They may be able to help you to create a website. There are other options like having a website on a some of the internet provider’s servers. I would not suggest using the internet providers “free” websites. The free sites are not protected and can be easily hacked and redirected. This can happen with a secure server too, but it is less likely. Our cost for the website with the secure server is around $200 dollars every two years. That includes the web address – in our case for the Los Angeles club it is LAHBC.org. In order to keep the web address we pay for the address every two years at about $20. The cost of the website is not cheap. Be prepared to spend a few hours a month updating the website if you start one. I work “full time +” as well and finding time for just a couple additional hours each month can be a challenge. You can have a website without updating it, but it does not draw as much interest as a site that has something new each time you visit. That is what makes Peachridge¬†Glass such an active site.

If you would like to talk about the website and club membership issues give me a call on the weekend when I have more time. My time zone is 3 hours behind East Coast time.

Best Regards,
Dave Maryo
LAHBC President & FOHBC West Region Director
Los Angeles Historical Bottle Club

FOHBC _President Art

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