AVALON – Another local business has bitten the dust to make way for more housing.
The Avalon Hodge Podge became the latest Ocean Drive institution to fall in the resort town where real estate prices have soared and 08202 has frequently landed on lists of most expensive zip codes in the nation and the state.
A bait and tackle store since 1962, the Hodge Podge was operated by the husband and wife team of David and Tammie Carbohn for the last 25 years, before their retirement following Labor Day weekend.
They were not able to find a buyer for the business, and they sold the property; it will be redeveloped as a duplex, David Carbohn said. The sale was for $2.2 million to 2389 Ocean Drive LLC, according to the Herald’s property records.
“We certainly did search for other people. It broke our hearts to see it come down,” Carbohn told the Herald. “We had some legitimate people come in and look at it, but the unfortunate circumstance is, it failed to pass the test that all the other businesses in town fail to pass. They can’t pay the mortgage with what they bring in.”
The Hodge Podge joins Tonio’s Pizza and Tonio’s Seafood, Z’s Deli and Jack’s Place as Avalon businesses on Ocean Drive that have been razed in recent years.
Jack’s Place was developed as houses, and duplexes are being built on the former Tonio’s Pizza and Seafood site. The land under Z’s Deli, as well as that of the former AJ’s Antiques store adjacent to it, remain vacant. Avalon’s main business district is on Dune Drive.
Carbohn believes real estate values are going to make it challenging for Avalon to retain small businesses and said he believes the borough’s leadership wants Avalon to become the “Hamptons South.”
“There’s less room for businesses like mine when you’re in a town that wants to be the Hamptons,” Carbohn said. “Some of the bigger businesses probably could find buyers, but the mom-and-pop stores, especially, have such a hard time surviving.”
Carbohn said the price he was able to get in the sale of the property is enough to pay him and his wife what they had been making running the Hodge Podge in retirement. He described the grind of running the business all summer and said he felt “ready” even though the couple still liked what they were doing.
For their first eight years, the Hodge Podge was open 104 hours a week, and it was only Carbohn and his wife working it, he said. Eventually, they rolled things back, and at the end they were down to 75 hours per week. They closed for a few months in the winters.
Now living in Florida, where he and his wife have retired, Carbohn said he peeked at some photos of the yellow cottage that housed his business coming down.
“Watching the store basically disintegrate in front of my eyes for the six weeks we ran the going out of business sale was harder to see than those pictures were when it got torn down,” he said.
Contact the author, Shay Roddy, at email@example.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 142.