614 on 100

Reflections from our writers on 100 magazines and eight years of monumental change—in 100 or so words

For eight years, (614) has been chasing stories around the capital city, and watching massive changes play out in the downtown core. Among the biggest have been to the very ground beneath our feet. The Audubon Center was born along side this magazine, and it was then that our green revolution began. The re-engineering of the rivers is an unsung feat that changed the profile of Columbus only a few years ago, morphing from little more than a rain drain to an OSU research corridor, and backyard playground for city residents. Trails flow in like tributaries from the suburbs, connecting Columbus without cars, and reintegrating the urban center and natural world that flows through its heart.

– Jeni Ruisch

When this magazine first started, we didn’t have a true craft beer scene—at least not in the contemporary sense. It was a very dated microbrewery scene, with not much to write about. When Four String started brewing in 2012, it was a huge deal. Now, well, the scene speaks for itself, with the number nearing 30 after only having a handful for decades. The thing people need to remember about craft breweries is that they are elevating our food scene. Whether it’s just a place for food trucks to connect with people, or you have a house kitchen pairing food with beer, the food is better for it. Also, the breweries are only reinforcing the buy-local movement by collaborating with other businesses. We’re just now at the point where our civic leaders have started to realize how important this culture is, and why cities like Portland, and Grand Rapids eagerly cultivate a craft beer identity. A strong craft beer community could be just the sort of thing that helps Columbus drive tourism. Or at least giving us something to talk about in our 200th issue.

– Steve Croyle

100 issues ago, we were having a rough go of it. Not just as a city, but as a nation and beyond. Personally, I was coming out of undergrad in 2009 and submitted more than 300 resumes before finally finding a job that provided health insurance. Many of us found ourselves struggling to find work, and a few of us decided to take a leap and start something of our own. We no longer found comfort or security in working for anyone outside of ourselves. That push off the proverbial cliff proved to be a critical moment for the future of Columbus’s startup culture. We’re an incubator for small businesses. We love to shop local and we want to support local people doing incredible things. We essentially grabbed the recession by the horns and told it who the boss was and didn’t look back. (That’s the cleaned up version of that saying.) 

– Kayla Merchant

The recession hit Columbus’s arts scene especially hard, which meant the creative community got creative and began to collaborate and share resources, use pay what you want admission prices, and find ways to make their art interesting and relevant to people who wouldn’t normally see an opera or ballet or visit a gallery. As a result, we’ve seen a huge revitalization in our arts–from the renaissance of Franklinton to the rebuilding of Opera Columbus to the new wing of the Columbus Museum of Art, not to mention numerous smaller startup companies across the city.

– Laura Dachenbach

When (614) made its glossy debut on the 2009 newsstands, the food world in Columbus was like a glass of Beauolais Nouveau back in the days of Roosevelt: young, immature, and only celebrated by the community itself. Full of fresh flavors, local support, and excitement, the makers, eaters, chefs, and cheerleaders knew something special was at hand. Buzzed about at farmer’s markets—new ones popping up each summer across the city like sunny dandelions, over farm-to-table meals at recycled wood tables, while waiting in line at the food truck of the moment, or digesting the food porn published by this very magazine, the Columbus food scene kept gaining momentum. Pop-ups, poke bowls … new horizons left and right. Once the world got in on the secret, tipped off by such guides as Experience Columbus’s confident marketing of our foodie talent and an unfortunately worded shout-out from Michael Ruhlman on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, what was once ours now belongs to the world.

– Kim Leddy

Much like everything else in Columbus, the music scene in the last decade has shifted and evolved to reflect the times and in the year 2017 it’s become something that is multidimensional and bigger than life. There is undoubtedly something for everyone. Back in 2009, “shitgaze” and “noise-pop,” born and raised in Columbus by the likes of Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit, and the boys and girls at Columbus Discount Recordings, were national buzzwords. Those and others were the stars of SXSW, being interviewed by MTV, and influencing an entire generation of bands near and far. Since then, our festival circuit has blown up—for good and bad— and we have several acts in the national spotlight including the ubiquitous Twenty One Pilots and Lydia Loveless, and hip-hop has a permanent home here. In essence, there’s really no place like home, musically.  

– Kevin J. Elliott