By ED SALVAS
The ShowRoom Cinemas in Asbury Park has a new owner and movie fans can look forward to seeing first-run films on the big screen again.
Owners Mike Sodano and Nancy Sabino announced the sale of the Cookman Avenue Art House theaters a year after they closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on public gatherings. Details of the sale to new owner Daria Parr of Manasquan were announced in a press release this week.
“When Daria inquired if she could continue the business as ShowRoom Cinemas, we were flattered”, said Michael Sodano. “Ever since we closed due to the pandemic, members of the community would reach out to us about how much they missed coming to their local cinema,” Sodano said. “An entertainment destination like this deserves to evolve its place in the city,”
“We were looking to start a business for a few years and when the theater popped up it intrigued us,” Parr said. “Asbury Park has a fun vibe with all of the music, art galleries, restaurants, and bars that we felt the local theater showing independent films should remain. We are excited about maintaining and supporting the local arts by providing a welcoming atmosphere with featured artists, special movie nights, and great films.”
Co-owner Nancy Sabrino said she and Sodano started the cinema as a natural expression of their love of movies and a desire to contribute to the new Asbury Park downtown.
“We were fortunate to have grown it into a successful arts business spanning two locations,” she said. “ We’re now looking forward to what’s next in our creative endeavors.”
ShowRoom Cinemas began in 2009 as a single screen, 50 seat storefront cinema on Cookman Avenue across the street from its new location. It expanded to a three-auditorium cinema in 2012. The couple’s second location, formerly called the Beach Cinema on Main Street in Bradley Beach, was a natural extension of the brand. It had just begun catering to a new community when Covid closed all operations down.
The ShowRoom Bradley Beach is still closed, but Bradley Beach Mayor Larry Fox said a reopening announcement is imminent. He declined to disclose details.
Right now, Sodano and Sabino are looking toward the future. Sodano said they came to Asbury Park with lots of creative ideas and are ready to do something new. They are both experienced video producers and their recent documentary, “The Gardens of Asbury Park,” produced for APTV, the city’s Public Access station, won third place in the Documentary category at the Jersey Access Group’s 2021 JAG Awards.