Style celebrates a birthday this month.
Back in 2003, when I was a sales representative for a local newspaper, I had lunch one afternoon at Ruby Tuesday. Upon entering the restaurant, I noticed a display rack full of magazines that were glossy, sleek and extremely eye-catching.
It looked like a national magazine. However, when I discovered it was a local publication called Ocala Style, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I sent in my résumé, interviewed with the publisher, Kathy Johnson, and eventually was offered a job.
Several months after starting, I talked with Kathy about publishing a similar publication for Lake and Sumter counties. With the growth happening at the time in The Villages and Clermont, I knew our area not only needed its own magazine but also could most definitely support one. Kathy agreed.
Lake & Sumter Style was supposed to launch in September 2004, but Mother Nature had different plans. Three consecutive hurricanes hit that summer, and we delayed our debut until November.
When I held the first issue in my hand, it was a dream come true. It was like having my own child. Nearly six years later, I opened my own company, Akers Media Group, and launched Healthy Living. Two years after that, I purchased Lake & Sumter Style from Kathy.
Guess what? The magazine officially turns 15 this month. And I cherish it more than ever. At the beginning of each month, I make a beeline to our delivery post so I can get my hands on a new issue. I love what this publication does for the community, how it changes lives and how it brings awareness to important issues.
I truly have been blessed by so many people who have been part of this publication—past and present. While I cannot acknowledge them individually in this space, their contributions will always be appreciated.
And to our readers and fans, thank you so much for being part of this magnificent journey. Without question, Style couldn’t have achieved this milestone without your unwavering support.
I’m looking forward to 15 more years!