Grand Valley Magazine celebrates two years

Grand Valley Magazine moves into its third year after starting at the same time the economy took a precipitous turn for the worse. Staffers are, top from left, Bob Smith and John Anglim. Bottom from left are Michelle Ellis, Kitty Nicholason and Kay Crane.

The stock market crashed two days after Grand Valley Magazine hosted a launch party for its inaugural issue in October 2008.

Advertisers ducked out. A distributor went under. Late hours became more certain than revenue.

Another magazine owner in this scenario may have cut her losses after the first issue. But Grand Valley Magazine Publisher Krystyn Hartman wasn’t ready to quit just yet.

It’s a good thing she didn’t. This month, the magazine celebrates its second anniversary.

Hartman started the magazine after a lifetime in marketing, journalism and publishing jobs. She moved to Grand Junction five years ago and became executive director of the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. While in that position, she believed something was “glaringly missing” in local publication choices: a monthly magazine that covered local culture, work and play.

By 2008, Hartman said, she “couldn’t stand it anymore” and asked local friends she had worked with in past publishing jobs whether they would join her in starting a magazine. Those friends became her central staff. She recruited freelance writers and photographers and got to work.

The timing seemed perfect, but the magazine ended up making its debut right as the economy began to slide. Hartman said collaborations, the ideas of her experienced colleagues and the good moments kept her, and the magazine, going.

“It’s been an extraordinary two years. It’s been extraordinary horrible and extraordinary amazing. The good parts are what keep the horrible parts from doing us in,” she said.

Each month, the magazine includes articles that focus on five main areas: culture, living, vehicles, working and the outdoors. Hartman said the goal is to highlight the great things the Grand Valley has to offer. She doesn’t have a target audience, just a mission to appeal to anyone that enjoys the area.

“I made (Grand Valley Magazine) for symphony-goers and philanthropists and retirees and geologists and climbers and lifelong learners,” she said. “We wanted to be a centerpiece for what’s good in the Grand Valley.”

People who live here aren’t the only ones interested in the magazine. Hartman said she has several subscribers who live out of town and even out of state. The magazine used to distribute internationally, but the delivery expenses got to be a hassle, she said.

Hartman attributes the magazine’s broad appeal to where the magazine can be found: on Denver Air flights, in Barnes & Noble and City Market, and in 18 locations as far west as Moab, Utah, as far east as Denver and Highlands Ranch, and as far south as Montrose.

The magazine has grown two companies under its umbrella: GV Concierge, which offers out-of-towners advice about where to stay and go, and GV Custom Publishing Company, which conducts market research and prints specialty materials for companies.

Hartman also started job-cultivation group Discovery 9 Networks. The group recently received a grant from the El Pomar Foundation to pay for Hartman to train Discovery 9 chapters proposed in Garfield, Grand, Jackson, Mesa, Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.

The journey to magazine publishing and more may not have had an easy start, but Hartman is having fun.

“I just love it,” she said.


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