The legendary Casper Petroleum Club, which proudly billed itself as "the place where deals are made," will close its doors permanently on Saturday, its club president said Tuesday.

The 67-year-old club, 1301 Wilkins Circle, announced at the beginning of the month that its declining membership would force it to close by Dec. 31, and only if business was good in September.

It wasn't, Forrest Leff said.

"For us to close professionally and legally, we need to close down on the first of October," Leff said.

The closing will put nine full-time and nine part-time employees out of work, he said.

The club was hoping to honor its commitments to businesses and other groups for holiday events, but it has notified them that it will not be open, Leff added.

On Sept. 1, the club posted this announcement on its website: “As you are all aware, the Casper Petroleum Club has been experiencing decreased membership attendance for the past 15 years. It is with heavy hearts that the Board must announce the the situation has now reached a level that requires the Casper Petroleum Club to close permanently.

“It is the Board’s desire that the Club be able to remain open until December 31st, 2016 in order to honor current reservations, allow staff to make future arrangements, and provide the members ample opportunity to enjoy the Club through the holiday season.”

Fifteen Casper businessmen founded the club in 1949 to “‘aid the industrial and productive interest of the State of Wyoming," according to its website.

At its height, Leff said the club had more than 700 members, but that number has fallen to 323.

The current membership is aging, Leff said. Younger people don't join clubs in part because technology enables them to interact electronically more than just face-to-face, he said.

The Petroleum Club is closing the same day as the Poor Boys Steakhouse, 739 N.Center St.

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