As you may have noticed, we’re in party mode over here! That’s right, Main Street Magazine has officially turned ten years old! Wow, what a journey it has been. And it’s really hard to believe that it’s been ten years, 120 issues, and countless stories that we’ve written and shared with all of you.
In that spirit, I thought that I should write a piece that focuses on the magazine itself this month. Some might say that that’s a bit self-serving, and/or that I’m tooting my own horn, but I’ll counter by saying that as anyone who knows me will confirm, I am the worst self-promoter out there.
However, celebrating ten years with all of my writers, photographers, advertisers, readers, family, and friends is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. For that reason, I felt that it was important to share a bit of our journey, celebrate the past ten years, and highlight what it has taken to bring us to where we are today.
So with a flare of levity, please indulge me while I toot Main Street Magazine’s horn for a page or two! “Toot, toot!” 🙂
How was Main Street Magazine born?
It all started in the fall of 2012, after I sold my half of my previous monthly magazine and moved my design and marketing business to Millerton, NY. Around that time, my dad uttered the words, “You should start a magazine!” Little did he know what he started with the comment, because within two months or so, the magazine was in full swing.
The first thing I always do when starting a new endeavor is sit down with pen and paper to write and sketch things out and do the numbers. I wanted to create a magazine that had something for everyone in our area, so I spent the most amount of time formulating my content. My focus was going to be local! Local people, places, businesses, history, curiosities, and things that would matter to our readers. Next I found a local print shop – shout-out to Dona and her entire staff at Snyder Printer, who have done all of our printing since day one.
Then I needed some help. I couldn’t do this on my own. I asked my sister-in-law, Ashley, to come join me on this crazy ride. She quit her job and came on board in January of 2013. That was truly a scary time for me, with a lot of added stress and pressure, because I was now responsible for someone else’s livelihood. Before Ashley joined me, I felt that if I didn’t make it, and it was just me, that was okay – I could figure that out. But now I was responsible for Ashley. Fortunately, we hit the ground running and have never looked back!
Ashley and I walked door-to-door introducing ourselves and soliciting advertising, because as the free publication that this is, we are dependent on advertising support. We had a couple of business owners chuckle with disbelief (in our faces I might add) and tell us to come back in a year – if we made it. That shocked Ashley, but I just smiled, and I told her not to worry – we got this!
And we did “get this” thanks, basically single-handedly, to a number of amazing businesses and business owners that took a chance and believed in us. I want to make special mention of our advertising supporters from the first day – without you guys, this magazine wouldn’t be possible:
Kirk Kneller of the Kneller Insurance Agency; Brian and Mike Madsen of Madsen Overhead Doors; Paul O’Neill of Agway; the Harney family with the support of both Harney & Sons Tea and Elyse Harney Real Estate; Jeff and Marie Meltz of Meltz Lumber and Ghent Wood Products; Bob Podris of the former Dutchess Oil & Propane (now Crown Energy); Robbie Haldane; Conall Haldane of Tristate Antique Restoration; Josephine Proul at Local 111; Gordon Keeler of Gordon Keeler Appliances; Lakeshore Builders; Scott D. Conklin Funeral Home; Jean Howe Lossi formerly of Pattison, Koskey, Howe & Bucci; Tim Berlinghoff of Berlinghoff Electrical; Adam Becker of Earth and Stone; and Madsen & Madsen Concrete.
To each and every one, you have no idea what your support has meant. I will eternally be grateful to you for your support. Likewise, thank you to each and every advertiser that has joined us since and continues to support us. We appreciate you so much!
A word from Ashley:
Ashley is our advertising liaison, amongst other things, and she wanted to share her thoughts and gratitude with everyone:
“Thank you, thank you, thank you! First and foremost I would like to thank my sister in-law, Thorunn, for taking me under her wing ten years ago and allowing me to embark on this Main Street Magazine adventure with her. Your talent is undeniable and I’m honored to be part of such a well-received publication. Congratulations on ten years of hard work, talent, and success! It has been nothing short of fun to work with you, our writers who bring the best stories to life, and our incredible advertisers! I’m excited to see where the next ten years will bring us.
“Speaking of my advertisers – I can not say thank you enough! Thank you for submitting such beautiful ads and trusting me with your ad design ideas, too. Thank you for your continued advertising support. Without you this literally wouldn’t be possible. I’m humbled to work in a community with an amazing network of local businesses. From monthly advertising-related phone calls, emails, and texts, to seeing your smiling faces during deliveries, I am so grateful for the relationships we’ve formed. And I look forward to maintaining and creating new relationships in the years to come.”
What about writers and other support staff?
Yes, having help is essential in creating a magazine like this. Even though I was capable of doing a lot on my own, I didn’t want that. I wanted to have a plethora of voices and perspectives when it came to our stories. And so, I started making phone calls and networking to find the right mix of writers that wanted to work with us. Thanks to my osteopath, Jennifer Dulin, for connecting me with Christine Bates and Mary O’Neill – both of whom are Main Street lifers by now!
I still remember my first meetings with Mary and Christine. They were both hesitant, but in their own way. Christine came in guns a blazin’ with ideas, and she was willing to take a chance on me. Mary was a little more hesitant, but as they say, the rest is history. Ten years later, both Mary and Christine still contribute to this magazine, but perhaps more importantly, they’ve become great friends. They are amazing women that I look up to and respect. I am eternally grateful to have had them walk through my door, take a chance- and join us on this ride.
After Mary and Christine jumped aboard, it kind of just snowballed from there; writers and photographers started reaching out to me, and/or we met organically. I’m lucky to have worked with some amazing and talented people, and I’m so fortunate that most of our talent has worked with us for years. They all have diverse backgrounds and interests, and I love it when people are able to do what they love. So I always ask my writers what they want to write about, what interests them. And more often than not, they write on those topics. This has also given us variety of content with diverse points of view and voices, and it’s sure to have something resonate with every reader.
I’d like to thank each and every one of my writers, photographers, and other contributors who have worked with us throughout the years. You all know who you are, and your talent, time, and effort has been so greatly appreciated not just by me, but also by our readers and friends. I am eternally thankful for you.
Lazlo and Libby, your beautiful and amazing photos are the first thing our readers see and are in effect the face of the magazine. I also want to specifically thank my long-term writers: CB, it has been a pleasure and an honor to work with you, sir; Regina, thank you for your creative ideas and saving my bacon time and again; Dominique, your enthusiasm and life’s joy is infectious; Ian, your stories and ideas are both inspiring and informational, and I so thoroughly enjoy them; Pom, your wit and humor and no-nonsense attitude is wonderfully refreshing; to my newest writers, Anna, Jesse, and Lorraine, I’ve loved hearing your ideas and reading your stories; and to all of my other contributors, your ideas and stories are so appreciated!
And then what?
Well, we got set up and running pretty quickly, and the magazine started growing fairly quickly. We gained a steady following of readers, and more people started reaching out to us with story ideas. Businesses also started calling, wanting to advertise. And for a few years, we worked diligently, growing steadily, and creating interesting, positive stories to share with our readers.
Along the way we’ve also grown in distribution, always adding areas that felt organic for us. We started publishing more copies of the magazine to keep up with our geographic growth. We also grew in our page count due to more stories and more advertisements.
Our next growth spurt was our website. Initially we focused on the printed magazine, and our website was just an information site to support the magazine. But for years I thought about the website as the next logical step, and it took a few years to work up to it, but in 2019 I redesigned our website and we began to craft content specifically for it – all kinds of stories and fun things that we simply didn’t have space for in the printed magazine. And of course, what went hand-in-hand with our website were our social media pages. We had had Facebook, but along the way we added Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and with the launch of our website we grew our social pages as well. We haven’t added TikTok yet, I mean, there are only so many hours in the day…
So again, and then what?
Well, I’m never one to get too comfortable (I learned that in 2008). So I’m always looking at ways that we can make Main Street better. I love the game of “Devil’s Advocate,” and I can be brutal in playing that when it comes to being critical of myself and my work, because I always want to do better today than I did yesterday.
A few times a year, Ashley and I will sit down and throw stuff at the wall to see what sticks (figuratively speaking) and just brainstorm: what’s working? What’s not? What can we do better? What do our readers want? What do our advertisers need and how can we help them? What are the stories we should be telling?
From those conversations and moments of self-reflection, we’ve constantly been tweaking the magazine and its distribution, our website, and social content. Well, to be fair, I suppose we tweak in some fashion just about every day with the goal of always doing our best.
Main Street is also on the radio?
Yes! For quite a few years now we’ve had a weekly spot on the local NPR station, Robin Hood Radio. Every Tuesday morning during drive time, Marshall Miles and I have a ten-minute, or so, chat about the magazine, our articles, and just about our community and happenings. Marshall and his entire team are amazing and provide a great resource with what they do, and I’m proud to work with them, and to be able to reach their listeners with some of what we do.
So what’s the deal with Moxie?
I had been bouncing the idea around of doing a podcast for a couple of years, and I kept broaching the subject with Mary. My reasoning for wanting to create a podcast had absolutely nothing to do with wanting to hear my own voice on the radio (doesn’t everyone hate hearing the sound of their own voice?), but everything to do with it feeling like the next logical step for Main Street and what we stand for. Through the podcast airwaves, we’re able to share positive and inspiring stories that our guests trust- and regale us with. That was my goal.
When I approached Mary with the podcast idea, at first she just looked at me – to be honest, I think she had zero interest at the first mention of it. But I kept dropping little hints here and there, and finally after about a year she was like, “Okay … let me look into this.” I didn’t want to create a podcast by myself, and I knew from the very first kernel of an idea I had about it, that Mary was the perfect partner in creating one.
With Mary onboard, it took us close to nine months before our first episode dropped in January of 2022. That’s over a year ago now, and our first season of Main Street Moxie landed the podcast in the top 30% of podcasts most listened to! To say that Mary and I were shocked and so pleasantly surprised by that achievement is an understatement. We had no idea, nor expectations really, as to how we’d do, but we’re just thrilled with the success of our first season and we’re so excited for season two.
And just like with the magazine, we wouldn’t have been able to create this podcast if it weren’t for the amazing guests that we’ve had from all over the world who have been so gracious about sharing their stories and words of wisdom. Secondly, our sponsors: you guys rock! Thank you for believing in us and that we would create an amazing product that you wanted to be a part of. Thirdly, our listeners, you guys are amazing!
That’s a good question! We’ve been at this for over ten years, and I hope we will be at it for many more. But as to what comes next, I truly don’t know! For me, every step in our journey has been organic and has felt natural. We just feel honored and privileged that people trust us to tell their stories and do them justice, whether it be in print, on our website or social media, or through the radio and podcast airwaves.
For me personally, the greatest gift is to learn about ever single one of the people/businesses/subjects that we feature, as well as to interact with our readers and advertisers – everyone has a story to tell. And my goal has always been to tell a good, positive story – especially with the amount of negative things out there. I want Main Street to focus on the good and to spread inspirational messages to everyone who reads, watches, and listens to us. So here’s hoping for another ten years of that! •
To learn more about Main Street Magazine you can call us at (518) 592-1135, email us at email@example.com, or visit us online at www.mainstreetmag.com.