Thirteen years ago, Lydia Stec and soul sister Korinne Wilson decided to take a chance opening up a Metaphysical spiritual retail store in OTR Cincinnati. Lydia was studying Sociology and Women’s studies, and the two met through a spiritual women group. Both embodied the Aquarius, hence the store name Aquarius Star. Business boomed and the store was moved over to the Clifton area under the name “Om Cafe”, as coffee and food were added to the mixture. Sister Korinne moved onto further ventures and Lydia took her own name for the new space.
This blend of magic, healing, and advocacy is exactly why I have been consistently drawn to Lydia’s cafe over the years. Lydia puts it perfectly when we sit down to chat. “We provide a platform for awareness.” The cafe grows their own food and buys local to promote sustainability (I recommend the Pesto Chicken Sandwich and Chai Latte). They foster artistic expression by hosting open mics and healing tarot card sessions.
Any artist familiar with Lydia’s knows the cafe is notorious for the notebooks on every table, for any person feeling the need for expression. I ask Lydia how the notebook idea took off and she shows me an old paint chipped desk. “I found these” she says, pulling out stacks of notes and doodles. “I didn’t even know they were there.” The messages are varied. Some people plea for others to communicate, listing their phone numbers. Others draw smiling cartoons. This collaboration has lead Lydia to publish a book with these creations, which is coming this year (October 2019).
I ask about the business side of things, what some of the challenges she faces are. “No one invites me to anything anymore!” I ask if that’s because she is always busy, and she says instead people only see her as a “boss” and not an equal, teasing her employees around us that they don’t see her as equal anymore.
This information shocks me, considering how much stuff the cafe has to offer the Clifton area, infamous for being a rich culture and art melting environment. She notes that the store sales are never where they should be in relation to the expenses. Despite these struggles, Lydia and her staff have been resilient, and she hopes to expand more spiritually in the near future.
Lydia’s cafe offers a unique healing and advocacy space for everyone, something we need in today’s chaotic and imbalanced world.