Shopping: Voda Emporium

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Olde Towne East doesn't have a hardware store. But one is expected to open soon on Parsons Avenue, and when it does, Gary Wahlers and Ted Dyrdek will take down the section of light bulbs, duct tape and braided wire they have for sale at Voda Emporium.

In an effort to fit the neighborhood's needs, Voda is part convenience store and part gift shop. Co-owners Wahlers and Dyrdek are hopeful other businesses will spring up nearby so they can eliminate some of Voda's inventory.

Right now the neighborhood doesn't have a wine shop. And so Wahlers and Dyrdek have applied for a license to sell wine - with the hope it will expand into its own separate business.

Voda opened in early July, next door to a salon Wahlers already owned. The shop sells a wide variety of items - jewelry, pet toys and food, kitchen tools, cards, gardening supplies, gourmet packaged foods and decorative home items.

Some are new. Some are repurposed or locally made. Some are by-the-books basic, like sunscreen and rubbing alcohol. Some are standout-specialty, like jellies from Circle S Farms in Grove City and snarky greeting cards from Mean Cards.

"A lot of this stuff is not mainstream, but our neighborhood is not mainstream, so it works out perfectly," Wahlers said.

The collection of home decor items ranges from found stained-glass windows to colorful glass vases. The owners pick up items from estate sales and thrift stores, and mark each with a tag labeling it "recycled" or "local" or some other eco-friendly descriptor.

Wahlers and Dyrdek hope to turn their stretch of Parsons Avenue into an arts district, and they're helping to plan "Art & Olde Towne" gallery events for the third Saturday of each month.

In yet another effort to fill a need, Voda's owners will soon open Portico - a breakfast, coffee and pick-up-a-brown-bag-lunch spot with deck dining out back - just down the block.

For now, breakfast foods and Cup O' Joe coffee are available at Voda.

Voda Emporium

81 Parsons Ave., Olde Towne East


Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday.