You know what world famous entrepreneurs and businessmen Warren Buffet and Bill Gates do for fun? They ride around in train cars and play the game of bridge.
According to the American Contact Bridge League, more than 25 million Americans play the sport annually.
With great fan fair Wednesday night, the St. Louis Bridge Center opened its facility to the public. The club is located in the old Famous Brand Shoe store on the western edge of the plaza at 8616 Olive Blvd. and McKnight Road in University City, just east of I-170 on the south side of Olive.
Hundreds of bridge aficionados came to sample Missouri wines and nibble on cheese and crackers and rub elbows with the movers and shakers of the game.
Thanks to retired TALX executives William Canfield (CEO) and Keith Graves (CFO) of TALX, there is a bridge center that will serve the community 13 hours a day (10 a.m.-11 p.m.) seven days a week.
As many as four games will be able to be played at one time with plans to expand quickly to six.
The emphasis is on bridge education. Planners want to spread the game to younger players in the community. “We are the only 501 (c)( 3) non-profit club in America so we have that tax exempt status,” said Graves.
It costs some $400,000 to create this 7,000 square foot center, some $300,000 has been raised so far. By all accounts, the interest was thus at the end of the grand opening the last $100,000 should be raised soon.
Right now, the center has no paid employees. Many people have both stepped up to donate and serve as volunteers to keep the doors open.
Charter memberships to the center are currently selling for $60.00 annually. Donations are being encouraged to support the center.
Donations should go to the St. Louis Bridge Center, c/o Bill Canfield, 620 N. Taylor Ave., Kirkwood, MO 63122.
Grand Master Jerry Helms will be conducting a teaching seminar October 23-24 at the center. For information check out the center’s website.