Reaching our 15th Anniversary has inspired all of us at Blue Ridge Outdoors to reflect on our journey. We began in 1995 as a supplement in Charlottesville’s alternative weekly paper, C-ville Weekly. Since then, we have grown into the region’s largest outdoor magazine, reaching 250,000 people from Baltimore, Md., to Atlanta, Ga., each month. Our web site reaches over 60,000 people on a monthly basis, and our weekly e-mail newsletter has attracted 20,000 subscribers.
Yet even after 15 years, when the next issue arrives from the printer, it still feels like Christmas morning. We eagerly tear open the boxes to see the finished product and admire all the work that went into it.
Even more rewarding is meeting our readers and hearing their thoughts. Readers often approach our tent at events to tell us how much they love the magazine or to comment on an article they read recently. We also value the letters and comments we receive on our web site. And it’s incredibly fulfilling to walk into a store or café and see people reading the magazine with smiles on their faces. That’s what we’re all about: to inform and inspire people to go outside and enjoy the region’s wonderful recreation and resources.
After 15 years, our total readership has grown to over 300,000 people. This would not have been possible without having the greatest staff that a magazine owner could ask for. Many of them have stuck with me for years, through thick and thin. Our most junior editorial staff member has been with the company for five years, and on the advertising sales side, our most junior staffer has been with us for four years. Most of these folks landed at Blue Ridge Outdoors right out of college and worked hard to grow the magazine. Because of their commitment, they have also been able to grow professionally.
Our jobs will continue to get more challenging as we deliver the absolute best content not only in a monthly print publication, but also through our web site, e-mail newsletters, events, online social networks, and other newly developing technologies. Just a few years ago, our art team only needed to design a monthly magazine. Now they manage our brand over multiple media formats. Our editorial team not only publishes articles for the magazine but also writes daily blog posts and news stories on our website.
We will always be firmly rooted in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. But we realized that other regions of the country could benefit from our style of publication. So last year, we opened an office in Boulder, Colo., and launched Elevation Outdoors Magazine to serve the Rocky Mountain region. We also started working with similar magazines in other parts of the country to form a network called Outdoor Adventure Media with the common cause of promoting outdoor activities on a regional basis.
Our 15th anniversary is ultimately a celebration of you, the readers. Thank you for being a fan of Blue Ridge Outdoors, signing up for e-newsletters, picking up our magazines, visiting our tent at events, and commenting on our stories online. Without your participation in the Blue Ridge Outdoors community, we could not have reached this milestone. If you have any feedback or ideas on how we can improve—no matter how big or small—I would love to hear your thoughts. Even if it is just to drop me a line, tell me your home town, where you pick up the magazine, and what you like or don’t like about it, I am eager to hear from you.
Thanks for giving us 15 great years. We hope to give you 15 more.
Publisher, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine