Sonny Caberwal, founder of Durham’s private club Union Member House, offers members a chic, Instagrammable interior that looks like it might cost an arm and a leg. But looks are deceiving — a yearly membership is a merely $250.
On the surface, Union comes off as an exclusive, secretive club as it features a fingerprint scanner to grant entry. But when you peel back the layers, it’s reasonably priced membership is built for those who typically would not be able to afford clubs or coworking spaces that tend to rack up a much higher bill.
In March of 2018, after dealing with a cancer scare, Caberwal and his wife and co-founder Preeti decided to open the space in an effort to bring diverse communities together.
Union Member House is within a refurbished 6,000 square foot Masonic lodge from the 1920s. It functions as a social hub and coworking space during the day, and offers bar and restaurants services as well as other programs during other times. It also features a 3,500 square foot outdoor garden.
Currently, the club consists of 60% women and 40% of nonwhite people out of its 1,500 members. Caberwal hopes to open 20 more locations in other midsize cities.
“If you don’t meet people outside your network, then only people with good networks get good opportunities,” said Caberwal. “I believe America is more than that.”