In a rare success story in the midst of the pandemic, a father-daughter team took over a tiny magazine named after Martha Stewart’s hometown of Bedford, NY, and doubled its ad-page count in the first issue.
The buyer of the magazine, simply called Bedford, is Michael Kaplan, who has long been active in the commercial real estate world around Westchester.
“The housing market is booming,” Kaplan explained of his success with the former TownVibe Media holding, which he renamed Bedford and New Canaan Magazine because it now covers towns in Westchester and Connecticut.
The deal was possible due to the pandemic, which squashed efforts to sell TownVibe to Hearst’s Connecticut Newspaper group, sources said. Instead, Geoffrey Morris, the founder of TownVibe Media, sold each of seven magazines individually, and when Kaplan, who had been writing for Bedford, heard about it, he jumped in with an offer.
“I bought after doing due diligence for four days,” he said.
Kaplan brought in as a partner his daughter Casey, who was working for a tech company in New Orleans that was slowing due to COVID-19.
“She joined as president,” said Kaplan. “I bought, she came in to run, and we’re off to the races.”
The first issue of Bedford and New Canaan was the September/October issue, which just hit with 48 ad pages, double the previous issue, across 108 pages.
“Real estate and home ads are driving it,” said Kaplan, who took the title of publisher. “The disappointments so far are restaurants, which we think will come back eventually — and auto dealerships since many of them now . . . don’t buy local print.”
He’s also tapping into local talent to help run the mag. Jill Brooke, who runs Flower Power Daily, joined as floral editor while Joyce Corrigan, a veteran of Marie Claire, has been tapped as style editor. Sue De Chiara, who runs the website The Zhush, is now home-and-decor editor.
Kaplan once took over the former Monticello Airport and converted it into the Monticello Motor Club, a private, member-supported racetrack for sports-car buffs to race their own Ferraris, McLarens and Maseratis. He raised $10 million and then flipped it for “a lot of money” in 2008, right before the market crashed.
The debut issue features a diary from a local golf pro who played the PGA Open in San Francisco, and a story by Griffin Dey, who was drafted from Yale by the Detroit Tigers and is one of three locals to play pro ball in recent years.
And he’s also not above tapping into some media heavyweights who populate the tony suburb. “We have Martha Stewart on the cover for the November/December issue,” he said.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article