Passing The Torch
At the beginning of June, Juli (my partner in all things awesome, including this magazine) was offered a job selling Kias in Kamloops. This offer came following a period where the two of us were wondering what the next phase in life might bring. We weren’t actively searching for a route that would take us out of Williams Lake, or a reason to ditch this magazine, and in fact many of the plans we were considering were plans that would let us stick things out with this project.
But when the Kamloops offer came in, things changed. We talked about it, a lot, and after all that talking we realised that making a move in that direction was the best thing, not only for us, but for our family, particularly our little girl Morrigan. She turned two-years-old in May, and she’s been talking like crazy, learning new words every single day (including, probably, some words she shouldn’t be learning, thanks mostly to daddy). And it was because of her, and because of the wealth of opportunity for a growing mind that would exist in a center like Kamloops, that we decided we’d be crazy not to take the opportunity.
Of course, that left things a bit up in the air over here at The Stew Magazine. Neither Juli or I wanted to just close the doors, but we knew it would be next to impossible to try to produce a monthly arts and lifestyle magazine serving the Cariboo from three hours away.
So the only answer that seemed reasonable was to find someone who’d be willing to take this whole enterprise over. We spent a few months looking around, considering our options carefully. To Juli and me, this wasn’t just a business. This was our family. Something we did together, from home. Someplace where we’d print baby pictures or share photos of our silly goings-on (like that time I tried eating one of those horrible Double Down things from KFC, which, ew…). It was a bit like trying to find the right person to adopt one of our children.
We talked to a few different people in our search, and while everyone we approached would have been a good fit, I like to think that Craig and Christa Smith will make a fine home for The Stew Magazine amongst their host of other businesses, all locally grown, just like this one. “We don’t see the addition of The Stew to our businesses as more work but rather a balance to our work with recreation, art, and fun,” Craig and Christa explained about their decision to acquire this magazine. “Our deep passion for the area and all it has to offer was a driving force in wanting to continue The Stew.
“Arts, entertainment, leisure and recreation are a big part of what brings joy and balance to our lives and we wanted to share that. Our vision for The Stew is to provide information about what life has to offer and what there is to do. We want to connect with a huge variety of leisure styles so that no matter what you like there will be something for you in The Stew.
“We want everyone to be able to experience what the area has to offer.” And if there’s any doubt that Craig and Christa share the exact same kind of outlook on things as we do, let this alleviate that: “Life is too short to not get out and enjoy what makes you happy as well as try new things. This is going to be a really exciting venture and we can’t wait to get started.”
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So even as Craig and Christa are trying something new with this magazine, Juli and I will soon be off trying something new in Kamloops. And as we leave The Stew behind (well, officially at least — I’ll still be hanging around for awhile in some unofficial capacities, but I’ll talk more about that another time), I certainly don’t want to be making any promises about what it’s going to become, either next month, a
year from now, or even years down the road. That’s not up to me any more (and I’ve heard some of the thoughts that Craig has going forward, and I know that this magazine is in good hands).
What do I want to talk about is what I wanted this magazine to be when I started it. I got started in this business thanks to a guy named Darcy Hadden, who some of you might remember. He started the High Country Advertiser almost 25 years ago (which eventually morphed into the Williams Lake Advocate before it closed its doors), and more recently was the man who originally breathed life into the
Cariboo Advisor. He hired me as a junior reporter when I was right out of high school, and when that gig didn’t work out for me so well, he offered me a job doing his computer design and layout when I didn’t know a damn thing about personal computers. I’d love to be able to tell you one of those stories about how he was this wise old hippie who somehow saw something in me, some kind of potential, that no one else did, and that he was willing to work to squeeze that potential out of me. But, really, I think he just saw someone who could get
the job done on time without demanding much money. But even though the paychecks were often late or small, and even though the working conditions were sometimes terrible, the one thing I always respected about Darcy was his passion, and his belief that you could build a true, independent, community voice. He did, a few different times. And, I think, so did we.
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I’m not sure if it was a good idea to start a magazine during a period when everyone is essentially predicting the death of print media. We managed to pull it off, but it was probably a little bit harder than it would have been ten or even twenty years ago. But even if print is dying, the desire to create an independent local voice will never die. If there’s someone out there, right now, or five years from now, or ten, who wants to create his own “newspaper”, does he really need paper, or does he just need passion? Does he need to know what it feels
like to have printer’s ink on his fingers from delivering his product door to door? Or is it enough that he puts a product, some kind of product, together, and shares it with people. More than anything else, when we started The Stew Magazine, we wanted to be able to say, “Hey, this is our voice. We hope you want to listen.” And I hope that’s something that will never die. That there will always be some way for determined voices to be heard, whether on paper, on the Internet, or sent in some fantastic, futuristic way we haven’t evendreamt of
Thanks for listening to this voice. We hope you enjoy listening to the next one just as much.