The Obelisk Shoppe Celebrates August 16th Grand Opening
Hillcrest, San Diego has long loved and supported The Obelisk, San Diego’s only gay-owned and operated bookstore.
And “Oh Hillcrest! How we’ve missed you” are the words emblazoned on The Obelisk Shoppe’s official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe) today.
As a longtime San Diego landmark in the heart of its gay metro area in Hillcrest, the business suffered a devastating loss just over two years ago, enduring forced closure due to a tragic three-alarm fire.
According to Rex Wockner, on July 6 2011 the Obelisk was instantaneously damaged and “closed when a workman’s torch caused a fire on the roof of an adjacent building, which spread to the Obelisk’s building. The second and third floors of the structure were gutted, and the fire department has closed the building until it can be repaired. The bookstore received water and smoke damage.”
Placed smack dab in the middle of the Pride Parade route, the renowned bookstore has always an integral shop-and-rest stop during San Diego Pride, and has hosted such LGBTQ luminaries as RuPaul and many local artists and authors for exclusive book signings, readings, showings and community events.
Nestled in the heart of Hillcrest, the bookseller has long been a location for group meetups, impromptu connections and kikis, and you could always find a mix of the most colorful customers in the store: folks who’d grab a chair and browse through fiction titles, LGBTQ teens checking out freebie magazines and newspapers, canoodling couples deciding on adult video rentals, film lovers perusing their curated collection of queer cinema, tourists eager to peek inside and buy random rainbow stickers and kitschy cards, kink-centric shoppers buying metal jewelry, local respected elders and queer business owners… (and the list goes on).
You’d never hear any stories of people being booted out of the shop if they didn’t buy magazines or books they were reading, or if they took too long to do so.
The feel of the store was homey and lived-in—what with the structure being over 100 years old, the atmosphere lent itself to such familiarity. The store’s proprietors were always on-site or close by, personable and patient. Though the store ownership has since changed hands, the shop’s new owner aims to carry on the community spirit and launch new revenue models beyond “just books” to keep the store sustainable.
From the pictures on their Facebook page, the redesign is ultra-sleek, modern and inviting, promising to pick up where Obelisk 1.0 left off.
During the Grand Opening, The Obelisk Shoppe will be giving away assorted goodies (including high-priced luxury watches, you lucky San Diegans!) in events surrounding the reopening.
Cheers and congratulations to The Obelisk’s ownership, staff and surrounding community. Thankfully no one was hurt in the blaze, and things are finally back on track.
For more information, visit their official Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ObeliskShoppe
San Diego’s known as the ninth gayest city in the United States. What’s the local book nook like in your neck of the woods?