The Orbit Room closed, may not reopen

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It appears The Orbit Room, an iconic club in Grand Rapids, is on the verge of closing.

The venue was closed Monday. Signs posted on the door ordered that it remain unoccupied.

“THERE IS NO EVENT ‘NYE EVENT’ AT The Orbit Room #CLOSEDINDEFINITELY,” The Orbit Room posted on its Facebook page Monday afternoon.

Later, the post was deleted. 24 Hour News 8 was told the party has been moved elsewhere.

On Monday afternoon, the owner said the club hasn’t yet officially closed, but that its future seems grim. The owner said all shows for January have been canceled. A source told 24 Hour News 8 the venue has been liquidating assets.

The club near the intersection of the East Beltline and 28th Street has been known for hosting huge national acts, including concerts, comedy acts and fights, for decades.

“I can’t say that I’m shocked, but it’s kind of an end of an era,” Ron Clause, a former employee who worked at the venue for 10 years, told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone.

From booking talent to daily operations, Clause worked in several positions during his time at The Orbit Room. He now works for Live Nation in the Detroit area.

Clause said The Orbit Room, especially its late owner Don Dorshimer, blazed a trail for the entertainment industry in the region.

“They pretty much started something that really wasn’t done in West Michigan at all,” Clause said.

“Don was also very unique with how he kept the business alive for so long. He was one of a kind. Like I said, he kind of shaped the landscape of the music scene in Grand Rapids and in West Michigan,” he added.

After the phone interview, Clause emailed a statement that said, in part, “For more than a decade it was the premier venue for capacity in West Michigan. It put Grand Rapids on the map for every artist’s routing. A good stop between Chicago and Detroit ( or Indy).”

However, in recent years, the venue has also been the scene of shootings and fights. In September 2017, Grand Rapids Police Department responded to two shootings there in seven days.

There has also been growing competition as the Grand Rapids area adds more venue space.

“When it was The Orbit Room and Intersection, it was just a compliment of one another,” Clause explained.

The reason for the closure is unclear.

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