With the liquor store closing, the fate of the ‘iconic’ sign must be determined

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (WANE) — It’s been lighting up nights on the Southeast Side for about 50 years, if not longer.

But now the fate of a well-known neon sign hangs in the air with the closure of the Belmont Beverage Store at 2915 S. Calhoun St., aka The Yacht Club.

“It’s one of the landmarks of Fort Wayne,” said Gary Gardner, operations manager at Belmont Beverage.

Garnder said people have already expressed an interest in the sign to Belmont Beverage’s corporate headquarters, but nothing has been definitively planned yet for what might happen to the neon-lined anchor.

The neon sign for The Yacht Club has lit South Calhoun Street for at least 50 years, if not more.

“Right now I’m not sure what’s going to happen,” Gardner said. “We would like to find a good place. It would be nice if it stayed in Fort Wayne.”

Following the history of the Yacht Club through public records is not always the easiest task as some records are sometimes incomplete in the digital age.

According to Allen County tax records, Harold and Hannah Doswell purchased the building on the site in 1966. This is the earliest listing in online records. In 1972 the property was transferred to the Yacht Club, Inc. and five months later to the Yacht Club Beverage Mart, Inc.

Other property records list a building constructed on the site as early as 1920.

Some who have commented on the True Fort Wayne Indiana History Facebook page in recent months said the site was once a supper club before becoming a liquor store half a century ago.

Gardner said Belmont Beverage bought the store in the mid-1980s, along with locations in Times Corners and Oxford Street, and that the sign remained.

Belmont Beverage announced Monday the closure of its store at 2915 S. Calhoun St., the site of the old Yacht Club.

However, in recent years the store has become one of the underperforming locations of the local chain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it was one of the stores that corporate headquarters would close to move employees to busier locations, Gardner said.

“Honestly, it’s not something you like to do,” Gardner said of closing a store.

On Monday, Belmont Beverage announced the permanent closure of the store. That location’s liquor license will be moved to another, not yet planned, store, according to Gardner, who said the chain has multiple licenses that it can place in different locations.

“We have three years to develop a plan,” he said, citing Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission regulations.

Meanwhile, the old Yacht Club still sits on the corner of Calhoun and Esmond streets.

Waiting for a new destiny.

https://www.wane.com/top-stories/with-liquor-store-closure-fate-of-iconic-sign-to-be-determined/ With the liquor store closing, the fate of the ‘iconic’ sign must be determined

Dais Johnston

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