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Behind the Green Door: Meet the Ohisos

Contributed photos

By Jonathan Fox
June 19, 2013

As new media continues to evolve into the digital age, Akira and Ellie Ohiso, publishers of Green Door: A Journal of Responsible Living in the Catskills & Hudson Valley, made a decision to strike out in a new direction with their careers. Transitioning from weekends in the country to making the Catskills their home, the Ohisos took a gamble and began a glossy magazine venture that has led them on a surprising and spiritual journey of discovery. Reconnecting with family and community is just the tip of the iceberg for what this entrepreneurial couple has accomplished along the way. In celebration of Green Door magazine’s second anniversary, The River Reporter sat down with Akira and Ellie to find out more about their story.

TRR: Your magazine is gorgeous! How did it come into being? Whose idea was it?

Ellie: It was a joint concept, really. Akira had been (professionally) blogging for several years and I was working in graphic design. We were working hard, had two children, and still having a hard time making ends meet in New York. Soul-searching became an everyday pastime, so we put our heads together and decided to make some life-altering changes.

Akira: As a social worker, I was constantly fighting for a “vulnerable population” in different sectors of the city. We had been visiting Ellie’s parents at their weekend home near here since 2004 and not only fell in love with the region, but also recognized that there are similar issues here in the Catskills, and wanted to be a part of the change that people expressed a desire for here in the country. That, combined with our own personal desire for change, drove us to seek a different way of life and be an active part of the community.

TRR: Not only have you set up shop in Liberty, NY, but you also live in the village itself, which has been fighting a difficult reputation for a number of years. Why Liberty?

Ellie: When we decided to create the magazine, we laid out a mission statement which includes our desire for Green Door to be an instrument of change. This town has a rich history and great bones. We both believe that there is a renaissance afoot in and around Liberty, and wanted to show the community that there are many ways that the town can “come back” and we want to be a part of that. Neither of us felt that we could accomplish that goal without being at the heart of it all.