1940s

1939: Progressive Liquor Alliance, Royal Ark No. 2, and Harmony Lodge join forces to form the Michigan Table Top Licensees Congress.

1940: First convention held April 14-16 at the Pantlind Hotel in Grand Rapids. The name of the association and the first officers were chosen here.

Purpose: “Unite all licensees who belong to local units into a state-wide organization for the purpose of promoting the general welfare of licensees, to improve business standards and discourage harmful trade practices, and to further the legitimate business of selling alcoholic beverages in a lawful and upright manner.”

Bill Cusick: started the Michigan Beverage News and played a major role in the Association’s growth

John Prawdzik:

  • Started a campaign to expand membership throughout the state
  • Traveled over 50,000 miles signing new members and forming District Chapters
  • “Dad was enthused and realized the importance of such an organization. He worked hard and long and did have his dreams come true. He enjoyed every minute. I still remember when he used to jump in our car for meetings on the other side of the state. Yes, he did travel over 50,000 miles to keep the organization movement going.” – Dick Prawdzik, John’s son and Secretary of the Table-Toppers for 20 years

Early Offices:

  • First office was a desk in the Michigan Beverage News office in the Fox Theatre Building – Detroit
  • 131 W. Lafayette – Detroit, MI (1944-1946)
  • 111 ½ E. Michigan Ave. – Lansing, MI (1946-1954) above Jean’s Bar, which was later destroyed by fire

1947: Association of Michigan Tavern Owners and Operators joined the Association

Issues:

  • 1945 – Women not allowed to tend the bar unless they were the wife or daughter of a male bar owner.
  • Bingo, card games, pinball machines, etc. were not allowed in bars
  • Trying to get licenses granted to race tracks
  • Local option laws
    • “AND IN MANY COUNTIES OF THE STATE THE LICENSEES ARE COVERING THEIR HEADS LIKE OSTRICHES AND SAYING, ‘It can’t happen here.’ It can and will unless all engaged in this industry work together.” – Tablegram article discussing local option
  • Liquor by the glass sales

Presidents:

  • John Prawdzik (1939-1942)
  • Otto Herpich (1942-1943)
  • Earl Miller (1943-1944)
  • Eddy Shepherd (1944-1945)
  • P. Gilbert (1945-1946)
  • Sandy Calvo (1946-1947)
  • Earl Herbert (1947-1948)
  • Sol David (1948-1949)
  • Frank Fabiano (1949-1950)