The Revere Moose Lodge has trimmed its antlers and kicked some bad habits, namely cigarette smoking.
The recently-troubled club has gone through some major organizational changes since nearly dissolving last January, and last week the lodge made a major move in becoming the first private club in Revere to prohibit smoking within its building.
“I’m glad we’re a leader on this and being innovators and doing our part to help turn the city around,” said new Governor Wesley Clemons, who is reviving the lodge for the second time in his life. “This is new and we are the first to do it. I’ve seen a few new faces already because we’ve gone non-smoking here. The tide is turning all over. As we go on, everywhere you go will be non-smoking. Even in Italy, you have to go outside to smoke now. You’re just seeing more non-smokers these days because not only is it too expensive, but also people realize the health problems associated with it.”
Added member Paul DiPlatzi, “The young people especially don’t like the smoking. They don’t even want to be around it and they won’t come here if there’s a lot of smoking.”
Clemons said that while his lodge is the first in the City to go non-smoking, other private clubs are in the process of doing the same thing and most likely will follow suit soon.
“I know the Elks will be jealous of us because they wanted to go non-smoking and they had a vote and their members chose to stay smoking by one vote,” he said.
The move from the Moose and, perhaps, other lodges is quite surprising given the history of smoking regulations and the fierce fight against them by private clubs in Revere.
About 10 years ago, when more stringent smoking regulation first came on the scene, many public establishments came under fire. Restaurants and workplaces began to be subject to non-smoking regulations, but private clubs waged a major fight and were able to stay exempt from those more stringent regulations.
Since that time, smoking has reined within the private clubs – at least until now.
Clemons said when he was elected governor earlier this year, he and the new Board members decided to conduct a survey of the membership – which, honestly, includes about half of the City of Revere. The idea was to get more of the large number of inactive members back to the club, and Clemons said they wanted to know what was keeping members away.
On that survey, one of the questions discussed smoking.
They soon found that the membership preferred the lodge to be non-smoking by a 3-to-1 margin.
“The responses to that question were overwhelming, like 3-to-1 for non-smoking,” he said. “It was just overwhelming so we decided to put it to a vote of the lodge and we gave ample notice. We filled the hall last week and took a vote and it was, again, a 3-to-1 margin in favor of a non-smoking building. So, on Aug. 1st, we will officially be non-smoking at the Moose.”
Clemons and DiPlatzi said that even smokers voted in favor of the prohibition.
“This is a small building and it was just too much,” said DiPlatzi. “Even the smokers told us it was just too much. Most people who voted non-smoking were smokers. They couldn’t breath in here themselves.”
Added Clemons, “If you were down here on a Friday or Saturday night, it was like a cloud.”
In fact, the cigarette smoke was so prevalent in the lodge that the Red Cross had to move their frequent blood drives from the Moose to the American Legion Building. Also, even though the function hall didn’t allow smoking, the smoke still got upstairs and chased away lots of rental business from the hall.
Now, both men said they believe that the vote will bring back the blood drives and the function business. In addition, the non-smoking change and other tweaks are brining in new members.
Clemons said he is running a special on dues, and plans to do some upgrades to the front of the building.
“This has always been a dark area of Broadway, but in the very near future this place is going to be lit up like a Christmas tree,” he said. “We’re also going to put up some new awnings and add flower planters in front.”
“Football season is huge for us,” he said. “When football season comes, that will be a big thing for us to see if these changes bring in more and more people and members. A lot of people can’t come down every afternoon, but they can come down for a game.”
New Moose Governor Wesley Clemons (left) and member Paul DiPlatzi celebrate the lodge’s recent vote to go non-smoking – the first private club to do so in Revere.