Small business owners love to talk about their businesses, and for me, there’s nothing like the business of magazines. Magazines inspired me so much that even as a quiet newspaper reporter with no sales experience, I had little hesitation suiting up to sell advertising in the first issues of this magazine more than 31 years ago. Magazines cast their spell over me from the start, and I would have done almost anything for the chance to create one. That passion made talking to other business owners easy.
The magazine caught on, and as a creative enterprise attracted hundreds of like-minded people who contributed their talents over the years, collectively creating something in which this community has taken considerable pride. As a business, it developed an influential, paid-subscription audience of high-net-worth readers that in turn attracted top businesses as advertisers in record numbers. Taken together, those factors made Sarasota Magazine the magazine that matters in this special enclave of Florida.
Over the past decades, a wave of real estate development and then another wave of glittering wealth and opulence swelled the magazine to 300 and then 400-page volumes. And in 2004 luxury publisher CurtCo Media recognized our business as unique among city/regional magazines and purchased it. It was all very much a dream come true for me and my partners, and the new owner took good care of the titles we had worked so hard to build and put them on the map nationally.
Now those waves have receded in equally dramatic fashion, CurtCo has exited the scene, and in April I was given another chance to own Sarasota Magazine and its affiliated publications. Magazines with the name of a city on their cover benefit with a local owner setting direction, and I’m thrilled to fill that role again. But the changes won’t be radical, because the original culture is intact here, and the creative heart is beating just as strong as ever.
I still see magazines as a privileged and almost magical enterprise, in which words and images reflect reality, but in a way that is organized and polished and heightened in order to bring readers on a journey of enlightenment or delight. Our mission will be exactly what it was in the beginning, to create top-quality media that engage top-quality audiences so that small businesses in our community can reach them and grow.
We will do so with the best talent we can engage and the best tools of our craft—fine writing, brilliant photography, exciting graphic design and the latest technology. Our greatest hope is to embody the city’s own heart and soul, to share the same lasting values and attributes that make Sarasota special—especially its passion for quality, creativity and opportunity. Sarasota is our home, and we will nurture its finest qualities, and at times call it to its own highest standards.
I’m grateful for your continued interest in our magazine, and would love to hear from you as we start this new chapter together.