Lake Country Journal, the regional Brainerd-based magazine, has a new owner to continue its family-owned tradition.
Range Printing of Brainerd, owned by the Sundquist family, recently finalized the purchase of the bimonthly magazine and its parent company/marketing firm Evergreen Press, which was owned by Chip and Jean Borkenhagen. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Shawn Sundquist, vice president of Range Inc., will be an owner/partner of Lake Country Journal LLC. Sundquist said the purchase, which has been in the works for about six months, began when Chip Borkenhagen initiated a call that sparked ideas for possibilities in both camps.
Range will publish and print the magazine. Sundquist, who was a mass communications major in college, is looking forward to discovering more about the magazine and creating a brighter future for Lake Country Journal with this partnership.
There are no immediate staff changes at this time and Chip Borkenhagen will continue with the magazine. Asked if there was a sunset date for that creative partnership, Sundquist laughed and said Borkenhagen suggested it not exceed 50 years.
"So he's in it for the long haul," Sundquist said.
Health concerns and the economy were factors for the change in ownership, Borkenhagen said, adding after nearly 15 years it was just time. With Range taking over handling the business, Borkenhagen said he'll be able to concentrate on re-energizing the Journal's editorial side.
"We are really looking forward to that," Borkenhagen said. "I have a lot of good ideas for some regeneration of editorial and just some fun stuff we are looking forward to put into the magazine now and take it the next level. ... We're going to build a pretty creative marketing enterprise by combining creative forces. It will be pretty powerful. We're just going to have a whole lot to offer."
Beyond the magazine, Borkenhagen said the move means more opportunities for the advertising agency side of the business.
"We're going to be able to have a lot of fun with this," Borkenhagen said. "The Sundquists are really neat people. Their business is a family tradition as ours has been. We're just a bigger family now."
What Borkenhagen won't miss is worrying about the business minutia. "We'll be able to concentration on the reason we started the magazine in the first place, which is being good story tellers and being an excellent marketing partner with our clients," Borkenhagen said.
For Range, Sundquist said the purchasing the magazine and its parent company is part of Range's transformation beyond what may be a public perception that it is only a printing company.
"Now we've expanded upon our creative ability," Sundquist said, adding now the business is both a publisher and a marketing service provider.
As for Lake Country Journal's future with Range, Sundquist said there will be subtle changes in the future as ideas are sprinkled into the magazine's established mix. The magazine has a publication demographic of a 50-year-old subscriber and Sundquist said they want to include content - such as family projects/activities and business - that serve as a resource for the 35-year-old as well.
Bringing in "fresh, new energy is good news for the thousands of readers who enjoy the award winning magazine," the Sundquists announced in a news release about the purchase, where the magazine was described as a lifestyle publication that "directs its readers toward greater knowledge and a deeper understanding of the area's events, businesses, culture and characters."
Sundquist said the sprinkling of changes are not designed to derail what is already a good thing, but are planned to improve the magazine's existing quality.
"There are some really good people involved with the organization," Sundquist said. "We'll just build upon it."
Sundquist said the goal is to have all operations under one roof with Lake Country Journal leaving its Laurel Street offices and moving to Range in the next few months.
Range traces its family business history for three generations.
Lake Country Journal began publishing in 1997. When the magazine was five years old it moved from Baxter to its current property along the Mississippi River near Laurel Street.
The magazine, Sundquist said, is "alive and well and has a great future with this organization."
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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