Magazine response wows us

Published 9:48 am Saturday, April 10, 2010

One of our goals with the launch of Western Tidewater Living, a quarterly lifestyle magazine, was to lift the spirits of a community that’s taken its fair share of punches lately.

With your overwhelming response to the magazine’s debut issue, you have lifted ours.

I’ve enjoyed seeing my staff, a talented, hard-working team who don’t always get the credit they deserve from the boss, beam with pride over every congratulatory note or e-mail, comment on the streets, and request for additional copies. And there has been lots of that feedback. Any credit that comes my way, I deflect to my staff.

Concepts are easy. I’ve envisioned a lifestyle magazine from the day I first stepped foot in Franklin four years ago and became instantly hooked by this community and its people. Executing a good concept is the hard part. My staff did the executing.

Not knowing what kind of response the magazine would get, we printed 5,000 copies of the first issue. At the rate you’ve gobbled them up since they hit the streets two weeks ago, we could have printed 10,000 and not met reader demand. We’re blown away by that response. So too are the magazine’s advertisers, who took a leap of faith with us, investing in an untested, unproven product in an economy as challenging as many businesses have ever experienced.

If you haven’t seen a copy of Western Tidewater Living yet, it is a magazine for and about the people of Franklin, Southampton County and southern Isle of Wight County. It is, at its core, leisure reading designed to make you smile — to remind transplants like me why we moved here and to remind natives why you never left.

It is not a news magazine. We have plenty of pages in the newspaper three times a week to inform you of the latest government, crime, political and economic news. We remain as committed as ever to doing so. Western Tidewater Living won’t distract us from that mission.

The magazine is distributed free at some 50 locations throughout the readership area: restaurants, retail shops, grocery stores, hotels and professional offices. We purposely held back some copies for a second wave of distribution in about 30 days, ensuring shelf life until our next issue is published in late June. If you want a copy in the meantime and can’t find one at the distribution points listed on Page B3 of today’s edition, visit our office on Armory Drive and we’ll give you one.

Some have been confused by the opportunity to subscribe to a free magazine. To clarify the system, for those willing to pay for the convenience, we are happy to mail the magazine to your home as soon as it is published each quarter for $20 annually to cover postage and handling. If you’d rather pick it up free at one of our distribution points, that’s fine too.

Planning for the content of the summer and falls issues is under way, and we welcome your input. To subscribe, to pass along a story idea, to send us photographs from a recent party, to have a wedding featured or to suggest a new distribution point, send an e-mail to or call us at 562-3187. We’ll work hard to make the next issue even better than the first.