The House to close Monday; owner puts it on the market

By Nina Gougis

What has come to be a familiar haven for live music and coffee lovers in DeKalb will close Monday after more than four years in business.

The House, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, is up for sale. The building itself is not for sale, but the space is available for rent, owner Sven Oscar Hansen said.

Hansen, who also owns Glidden Campus Florist & Gifts, 917 W. Lincoln Highway, said he decided last week to close the business because it was too difficult to run both businesses.

A lack of customers over the past few months was another reason for the closing, said Kimberly Lueken, operations manager.

“It’s something we knew was probably going to happen, but we did not expect it to happen so soon,” Lueken said, pointing out the Christmas decorations they set up a few weeks before.

Other employees, such as Erich Havel, said the lack of business could be a result of unsuccessful attempts to introduce more expensive items on its New World Bistro menu in July.

“It’s good food and it’s worth the money, but not many people are willing to pay $20 for a meal on a Tuesday night,” Havel said.

He said he was disappointed Hansen would give up on the business so soon.

Many customers, such as first-year physics graduate student Manasa Majjiga, said moving closer to campus could have helped the business draw more college students.

Senior physics major Tim Maxwell said the House’s cozy and comfortable atmosphere was refreshingly different from corporate coffee stores lacking personality and smelling like burnt coffee.

“This was the perfect place for college students to go,” Maxwell said. “I’m depressed to see a place like this go because I think it is so perfect.”

Although the business has had a rough ending, Hansen said the exceptional employees, amazing music, good food and close friendships have all made the experience worthwhile.

“When we first opened, we really wanted to do something we feel would contribute to the community and I feel we’ve done that,” Hansen said. “Now someone else will have the opportunity to do it.”