You may have noticed the ”Our 100th Issue” graphic on the upper right corner of this month’s cover. There is a story that goes with that.
A little over eight years ago I left what I thought was a secure job in the financial industry to start my own business. There were several reasons, not the least of which was being really disillusioned with corporate America, but the bigger driving forces were to be able to control my own destiny, and to have some creative input to the product or service I provided.
After looking around at various business ideas-recycling, a kid’s sports league franchise, video production-I settled on the community magazine business, and bought a franchise out of Atlanta. Not too long after starting the magazine, I met with a respected local business man in his office. After some polite conversation, he pointed to a stack of magazines on a bookshelf behind his desk. “See those magazines?”, he said, “My advice would be to get out now-that is a stack of local magazines that failed.” But instead of being discouraged, I was perhaps a little angry, but even more resolved that this “little magazine idea” would work.
Business wise, things moved fairly slowly for the first six to twelve months-actually it felt like I was pushing a boulder with my nose. During that time I met with the franchise in Atlanta in an attempt to get them to agree to change the somewhat dated cover design, graphics, and overall look and feel of the magazine. They would agree… and then nothing would happen, and I was increasingly frustrated. I felt like I was back in corporate America, only without a guaranteed income.
It’s funny how life works sometimes; just when you think the worst thing has happened, in hindsight you realize it was the best thing to happen. About a year in, the financial house of cards that the folks in Atlanta had concealed from me finally collapsed, and I was on my own. I felt foolish for investing money, and trusting them, even though I had done what I thought was reasonable due diligence. But I immediately changed the cover design, the overall look and feel of the product, and Gaston Alive! was born.
The October 2012 issue that you are holding (or reading online) is our 100th issue. Some days we feel100, but most of the time it seems like we just started this project. During the last eight years several publications have come and gone, and we keep plugging away, trying to help small business owners get their message out. We believe in local business and local business owners. Entrepreneurs aren’t saints, but they are some of the most imaginative, courageous, creative and hardworking people you could ever meet, and it has been a joy to get to know them.
And to you, the reader, let us say thank you. Thank you for embracing the little magazine that could, and for supporting those business people whose livelihoods depend on local dollars-everything from pizza to dance lessons. You don’t know how often and how gratifying it is when we are out in the community and hear “I just love that little magazine!”
Thank you-we don’t get tired of hearing it, and we promise to work hard to make sure you keep on loving it.
All the best,
David – dhamrick at gastonalive dot com