By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
This issue marks the 14th year anniversary of Eliana and me working together on The Retail Observer. Wow. As many of you know, Chuck Edmonds started the magazine in April of 1970 as the Northern California Retailer. The magazine was sold in 1983 to NKBA Hall of Famer Don Martin of Kasmar Publications and subsequently repurchased from Don by Chuck in 1990 to rebrand as Retail Observer. Eliana and I took over in 2007, and renamed the magazine The Retail Observer.
This little “news rag”, as Chuck put it, has seen many changes since 2007. When we took over the magazine, subscription was in only 30 states with approximately 3,600 actual subscribers to the paper copy and no digital footprint except for a one-page contact website. Forward to today, there are close to 18,000 print subscribers and 9,200 digital subscribers to our current version, with a well-viewed multi-page website that has viewers from more than 38 countries worldwide.
Back when Chuck owned the magazine, he and Lee Boucher would travel around to various local events to take pictures of attendees at trade shows, regional meetings and vendor events. Content was mostly new products and local events in a 32-page format. Following their lead, today we partner with well over 26 trade shows internationally which we sponsor, and work closely with more than 20 trade associations and buying groups to bring you their news and informational articles in a 68-page publication.
One of the biggest changes to the magazine is our audience. When we started, the vast majority of our readership was approximately 85% independent retailers. Currently, independent retailers make up about 68% of our readership with the remainder consisting of builders, contractors, architects, designers and various other industry related leaders.
We are very proud of what has been accomplished in these 14 years — the time seems to have just flown by. I’d like to thank our publisher Eliana Barriga, graphic designer Terry Price, web and social media partner Michele Kennedy, all of our trade partners, manufacturers, trade shows, writers and all the people that help to bring you The Retail Observer on a monthly basis.
Happy retailing and thanks for reading,