Asbury Park’s House of Independents permanently closes amid flood damage
A popular Jersey Shore music venue shuttered its doors for good due to flood damage.
News 12 New Jersey was in Asbury Park nearly two months ago when floodwaters turned Lake Avenue into an actual lake. Businesses are still reeling from those September rains, including the beloved House of Independents.
Ana Salles, who lives upstairs from the venue, was saddened to hear the news that it would permanently close its doors.
"When I think of Asbury, I think of music so, that’s why it’s heartbreaking to hear they’re closing down,” Salles says.
The popular music venue has been a staple in the community since it opened its doors. The owners announced Thursday that they would be closing for good after the storm caused $500,000 in damages. Eva Michelin is the venue’s financial director and says between the financial burden and insurance at a stalemate, reopening wasn’t in the cards.
"We have loved being in Asbury Park, being a part of this community. Everything kind of looks bleak right now. It doesn’t make sense to reopen,” Michelin says.
Robin Mennie owns River Street Sweets Savannah’s Candy Kitchen right next door and has stood side by side with the House of Independents through other adverse times.
"There has to be something done, we can’t just let natural disasters affect the town. We have to come together as a group. House of Independents has helped us in many ways. It draws a lot of people to the community it provides jobs and hope, Mennie says.
The venue’s doors have been closed since that Sept. 29 storm. More than 50 people have lost jobs and a community has lost a beloved hangout.
Taylor Mennie was born and raised in Asbury Park and hopes the music venue will be saved.
"If a natural disaster is going to kick them out, then something needs to happen to keep this going, keep it alive, keep the dream alive as well in this town,” Taylor Mennie says.
For now, acts that were already scheduled are being moved to other locations. There is no word on what might replace House of Independents but people in the community hope it’ll be music-related.