The magazine focuses on different aspects of Sylacauga’s quality of life. This year it will focus on the arts, as well as the 175th anniversary of the city and the chamber’s 70th anniversary, and it should hit stands by mid-October.
Some of the main stories in the magazine will focus on the Comer Museum and Arts Center, the art collection at the B.B. Comer Memorial Library and the annual Marble Festival.
Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Emlich-Bates said it is a good thing new magazines will be available soon, because the chamber and local business owners can’t seem to hold on to spare copies of last year’s publication.
“The reception of the first one was wonderful,” Emlich-Bates said. “The banks use them and all the businesses want to give them to their customers. The schools use them a lot; in fact students use the magazine as resource material for reports. And the library uses them. I had to call over to Blue Bell recently and tell them they could keep two cases for themselves, but I needed them to send the rest over to us. I keep a box in my car and I am handing out copies all the time.”
Daily Home Editor and Publisher Carol Pappas and the chamber director at the time, Joe Richardson, came up with the idea of the magazine last year as a fundraising initiative and a way to provide the city with marketing materials.
The Daily Home printed 10,000 copies for the chamber to distribute for marketing and tourism. Emlich-Bates said she has noticed a “reawakening” in Sylacauga as businesses move in and more people attend city functions.
For example, Emlich-Bates would estimate that somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended Sylacauga’s Marble Festival over the course of 10 days in April.
Pappas has welcomed the chance to work with the chamber in producing a second magazine, especially since the city has experienced some significant changes since the last publication.
“We are honored that the chamber has asked us to be a part of this process again,” Pappas said. “We began with a general conversation about the magazine and what the chamber wants to emphasize. Then we came back with a tentative story list for the chamber to approve, and once we finalized that list we were ready to get to work. It’s good to be producing a new magazine because some people think a year is too soon, but a lot of things have changed.”
Not only has Emlich-Bates stepped in after Richardson’s resignation in early April, but the Sylacauga City School System also has a new interim superintendent, Renee Riggins.
New businesses such as American Plant Services, a company capable of doing industrial cleaning such as taking care of spills and cleaning out smokestacks, have also moved to Sylacauga since the last magazine was published.
Technology will go a long way in helping to promote the new magazine as well.
Pappas said the Daily Home’s new Web site will allow the company to see how many visitors to the main site are also checking out the Sylacauga Magazine.
“We will provide a digital edition format for our online readers,” Pappas said. “A link to the magazine will be posted on both the Daily Home site and the chamber’s Web site. We have a tremendous amount of traffic on the Daily Home site and we can track how many people are viewing the magazine.”
Emlich-Bates said the chamber’s goal is to have a largely cooperative relationship with the state and the Italians in the city who work with Sylacauga’s famous marble to create a great product in Sylacauga Magazine.
Even though this will be Emlich-Bates’ first time collaborating directly with the Daily Home on the magazine, since she only took over as executive director in April, she is excited about the possibilities of working on the new magazine.
“I served on the executive board as chamber president previously, so I am coming into this for the first time,” Emlich-Bates said. “I am looking forward to doing the magazine and helping and contributing. The magazine has already been a big help, and I know the new edition will be a big help as well.”