Nearly 12 years ago, Eric Obenauf and Eliza Wood-Obenauf, a married team with a shared love of music, film and books, started their own independent publishing company, Two Dollar Radio.
After traveling between New York and San Diego for two years, Obenauf and Wood-Obenauf finally settled in the Columbus area, had two kids and ran their publishing company out of their home and a closet-sized office space downtown.
Finally, after years of wanting to open a more community-oriented space, Two Dollar Radio opened a headquarters at 1124 Parsons Ave. on the southside of Columbus.
The new place houses a bookstore, performance space, full-service coffee and alcohol bar and even features a small menu of hearty vegan food, including dishes that feature vegan chorizo and cashew mozzarella cheese.
“I think that there was just a lot of things clicking into place at the right time and we feel fortunate to have happened into this space in particular,” Obenauf said. “It’s beautiful, it’s affordable, the neighbors are all super friendly, and the community seems really enthusiastic and supportive, which is tremendous.”
Obenauf said independent publishers can foster an unconventional book shopping experience, unlike mainstream publishing companies, because the books they publish are often more curated.
“Independant publishers [are] doing really quality work and … because they’re run by a couple people, like we are, they tend to have a bit more distinctive taste where if you like one of their books you might like all of them,” Obenauf said. “I guess that element of discovery is pretty cool.”
In addition to the more personal selections of books and periodicals sold in the store, the couple and Brett Gregory, the publisher’s editorial and marketing assistant, designed the entire store themselves, even building the bar, bar stools, shelves and tables by hand.
“As a book-publishing company, it was cool to do this kind of thing,” Gregory said. “This space is genuinely ours.”