Making whey: World War II Club sold to cheese-making company 

  • The World War II Club in Northampton has been sold to the South Deerfield-based New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 7/20/2020 11:54:05 AM

NORTHAMPTON — The World War II Club, also known as The Deuce, was sold earlier this month to the South Deerfield-based New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.

The building, which was put up for sale last year, sold for $745,000, according to property records. A previous deal between the World War II Club and two people from Signature Sounds, the Northampton record label and concert producer, to purchase the club fell through amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Husband and wife Mark Chrabascz and Sarah Carroll run the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. As the business has grown, Chrabascz has been looking for its new home. The company sells supplies for making cheese at home, including cheese molds, kits and various starter cultures.

“Pretty much all the supplies you need for any cheese you’d want to make,” Chrabascz said. “We greatly gear toward homeowners and small farms. The equipment for commercial cheese making is different — it’s much more elaborate and expensive.”

Sarah Carroll’s mother — self-described “cheese queen” Ricki Carroll, of Ashfield — started the company in 1978.

The company plans to move its operations and offices to the Conz Street building, as well as open a retail space and teach workshops there, Chrabascz said.

World War II Club

The World War II Club was home to a public bar and a room for special events with both veterans and non-veterans as members.

It’s not clear what the sale means for the club, but “it’s one more charitable organization for veterans that’s no longer around — at least without a structure,” said Steven Connor, president of the World War II Veterans’ Association of Hampshire County, the organization that owned and ran the club.

The group’s membership has not met yet to decide how to move forward, Connor said. “Do we still have an association? Are we still going to be doing charitable work for veterans without a building? We’re not really sure how that works, but we haven’t decided for sure.”

The club faced financial issues when the building was put on the market, but the pandemic worsened the situation, Connor said.

“We were already struggling. Then to have COVID-19 hit, that was just every month we were losing money. We still had our mortgage, and no way of paying it,” he said.

Building Bridges Veterans Initiative used to hold weekly free lunches for veterans at the World War II Club, which will not continue at the building, according to Connor.

“We are looking at new potential sites when we can bring it back,” he said. “Whatever it takes. Veterans just need the connection.”

Connor said it’s hard to let go of the club, as he’s been connected to it since he was a kid. “It’s been there since the early ’70s. Before that, it was just down the road.” He recalled going there, after winning a Little League baseball game, for hot dogs.


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