It seems like only yesterday that an enthusiastic young woman named Kendra Chastain walked through the doors at Ocala Style as our new sales associate. Kendra was an avid fan of our magazine, and she was anxious to discuss ways of expanding into Lake and Sumter counties with a sister publication. For several years I had contemplated a second magazine, but I had been somewhat reluctant to expand into a market that was so large and diverse, with 17 cities and municipalities. How could I capture the essence of all these communities, each with their own special character and charm, in one monthly publication?
In the end, revved up with that entrepreneurial spirit, I began production on Lake & Sumter Style in 2004. And yes, Kendra had done a great sales job of convincing me that she should be the one to introduce our magazine to our wonderful friends in Lake and Sumter counties.
Throughout the journey, Kendra came in and out of the picture. She married and became Kendra Akers, as many of you may know her; worked briefly with another publishing business; and eventually created several magazine titles of her own. But she never lost her passion for the magazine that kick-started her career, Lake & Sumter Style.
I know this because we’ve remained friends. Frequently she has asked if I’d consider selling the magazine to her. And finally, several months ago, when she asked again, I said, “Yes,” much to her delight. She’s the perfect one to pass the torch to.
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with an exceptionally talented team of local writers, photographers, artists, and marketing consultants, not to mention a loyal group of area business professionals, community leaders, and readers who have supported us every step of the way. Because of your support, we’ve been able to do a job that we love every day. I hope, in return, we have instilled a sense of pride in each one of you for this truly great community.
Our readers will be happy to know that our flagship publication, Ocala Style, will continue to be available in The Villages, bringing news and stories from your northern neighbors directly to you. Then, starting next month in the pages of this publication, you will see Kendra’s debut column as the new publisher and owner of Lake & Sumter Style.
In the meantime we will be working together, just as we first did so long ago, to blend our teams so that you, our readers, can continue to enjoy one of Lake and Sumter counties’ best lifestyle magazines.
All my best,