Club Hype moves beyond recent controversyWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Like most clubs, Club Hype features a dance floor, flashing lights and a disc jockey. What makes this new Maumee venue different is its patrons. Club Hype, a club for teenagers, opened in September with a goal to keep young adults off the streets.
Penta Career Center student Brooke Thomas said Club Hype is a popular subject with people her age and she often hears about Club Hype in school hallways. She said during days later in the week, she often hears others ask, “Are you going to Club Hype this weekend?”
Owner Stephanie Emch said she came up with the idea for a teenage club to give that age group a more positive recreation option.
“They have nothing positive to do in their lives,” Emch said of teenagers partaking in drugs and alcohol. “[Club Hype] offers the kids something to do.”
The club is much like an adult club, with a dance floor and bar area. A live DJ plays loud Hip-Hop, techno and pop music. The atmosphere is aimed at ages 14-18, so the only drinks offered are energy drinks and nonalcoholic mixed drinks.
Emch said she was inspired when the gym where she worked out closed. Looking at the gym, she said it was the perfect fit for a nightclub. Her family put their heads together when the gym went out of business, converting it to Club Hype.
The club met some controversy during Halloween. Many news outlets in the area reported that some of the teenagers attending the club were dancing suggestively and not wearing appropriate clothing. Maumee police investigated photographs of these teenagers when they were posted on Facebook.
But Emch said it was a one-time mistake.
“We had no problems prior to Halloween,” Emch said. “Nothing after.”
Emch explained the incident on Halloween was a small problem that was made into a bigger problem than it had to be. She said none of the news outlets followed up in the following weeks.
“It was a big setback,” Emch said.
Amidst all of the controversy, the area’s Cedar Creek Church used the club as a venue for its Vertical youth group’s kick off for the new semester on Jan. 9. Student Ministries Director Steven Whitlow contacted owners Stephanie and Mike Emch after hearing about Club Hype and the news that surrounded it.
“There were certainly questions we had to ask,” Whitlow said, referring to booking the club as a venue for their church service. “We want our parents to trust us.”
Whitlow said that he was confident with the owners and the security; the club’s official website explains there are always two to four uniformed security guards on duty during open hours.
“They were incredibly accommodating,” Whitlow said. “What goes on at Club Hype is no different than what goes on at homecoming … [though] I don’t condone or support what goes on at homecoming.”
Whitlow said he was very pleased with the event, which he held at the club in order for people who didn’t regularly attend church services to feel more comfortable. It welcomed close to 350 teenagers after only advertising on Facebook and through word-of-mouth.
Thomas, who attended the church’s event at the club, thought it was “really cool” but didn’t agree with the concept of a teenage club.
“Letting [teenagers] have a clubbing experience before they are legal … it just causes conflict,” Thomas said. She said she debated if it was “morally OK.”
“It’s an alternative for a house party,” Emch said. “It’s safe. It’s a place to meet new people. It’s a place to dance.”
Emch said working with the church was fantastic and she can’t wait to work with them again. She has also sponsored a concert at the club, partnering with Toledo radio station 92.5 KISS FM, and is planning a prom for young people with autism in March.
Club Hype is located at 1703 Tollgate Drive in Maumee. It is open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m on Saturdays. Online: hypetoledo.com.