Positively Impacting and Serving the Community
Gig Harbor Living Local Celebrates Seven Years
By Jillian Chandler
For those who live here in Gig Harbor, we know how truly special this place is that we all have chosen to call home. This community is filled with kind, generous, giving people, who care deeply for this place and all those who live here.
It was seven years ago that a new publication would be released, sharing positive stories highlighting all that’s wonderful right here in the harbor, along with the incredible local businesses that help in sustaining this small—yet thriving—maritime city. With just eight weeks to drum up excitement, plan content, connect with businesses, develop distribution points and to gain support with advertisers, it was no easy feat. But Julie Reed was ready for the challenge.
“Preparing the release of the first issue of Gig Harbor Living Local seemed like a challenge I had never faced in my career before. The process and steps that needed to be fulfilled for our first print release were insurmountable,” she recalls. “Nothing basic about an eight-week launch of a brand-new business that is exposed to the entire community. It was like the birth of a new baby—no sleeping!”
With a hyper-local focus and original content based on uplifting and highlighting the best parts of our charming town, Gig Harbor Living Local, from day one, has been about the people and delivering the most beautiful magazine, designed to serve the locals and visitors by providing valuable resource information.
“I had no idea the power and impact on our Gig Harbor community that the magazine would have seven years later,” smiles Julie. “I have seen businesses grow and achieve branding statuses and have witnessed more of a positive, communicative and welcoming atmosphere within our community.”
Tim Lopez of Tim Lopez Agency - American Family Insurance, had been in business for seven years at the time Julie approached him about advertising in the premiere issue. He says he was inspired to take part in the publication because of Julie, their friendship and his confidence in her vision for the magazine. Over the years, their business relationship has grown stronger, and Tim is encouraged by Julie’s knowledge of the local community and their shared concern for the well-being of the community and local businesses.
“I feel there is value in the visibility that the magazine provides to my small business, in terms of being at the forefront of local people’s minds when they shop for auto, home, life and business insurance,” shares Tim. “Also, [I’ve enjoyed] being able to continue to work with Julie all these years.”
For Sue Wilhelm, campus sales and marketing director for Harbor Place at Cottesmore, “Being rooted in Gig Harbor, we were excited to participate in a publication for our hometown!”
The two initially met when Julie stopped by Harbor Place with the Gig Harbor Living Local concept magazine. Sue recalls being impressed with the quality and local content of the Living Local magazines already being published in Idaho at the time. “Since then, Julie joined Gig Harbor Chamber with me and has been a wonderful resource for other Chamber and Gig Harbor community members,” smiles Sue. “She’s very creative, energetic and resourceful!”
Having conversations about business and stemming from that conversations about life and family with her advertisers has brought Julie to a closer understanding of how to help them achieve what they are looking for. That deep understanding on a personal level has aided her in becoming a better resource and guide in making important business decisions.
Dr. Greg Messner, owner of Gig Harbor Chiropractic and Massage, is another loyal advertiser who was on board with the publication since its inception. He liked the fact that Julie is a longtime local and that she and the rest of the Living Local team are easy to talk to and work with. He says he has remained a loyal client because of the fair pricing and the publication’s high quality.
“We like local business and local companies and group local marketing,” says Greg. “We know and do business with many other local companies in the publication.”
Julie shared the concept of this new publication with Sandy and Gary Jones, Realtors at Windermere Real Estate Gig Harbor/Downtown, toward the end of 2013. “We immediately wanted in on this amazing opportunity to advertise our business,” says Sandy. “Our involvement with Living Local over the years has increased our business, expanded our community connections and business relationships.”
The couple echoes many of the same sentiments that so many of Julie’s clients share. “We appreciate and enjoy Julie's stellar communication, creativity, professionalism and unsurpassed customer service.”
A desire to increase her business opportunities in the community is what led Debbie Mishko of American Pacific Mortgage to pursue advertising opportunities with the magazine. She shares that Julie provides “personal, concierge service,” and that she is “bright, creative, responsive and innovative.”
Advertising in Gig Harbor Living Local has “increased my purchase business production, and I have grown my referral partner network within the real estate community," Debbie affirms.
Julie shares that she is most proud of the relationships that have been forged and the responsibility the magazine has taken to provide positive only content and the expansion of the quality of the magazine. She is also proud of her Gig Harbor Living Local team. “Our design and creative team, photography and writing have come leaps and bounds from where we started. We were a young magazine that has matured and blossomed! I am truly humbled to be surrounded by a community brimming with intellect and talent.”
Like Media is the media agency behind not only Gig Harbor Living Local but five additional monthly magazines across the Northwest—253 Lifestyle Magazine, Coeur d’Alene Living Local, Bonners Ferry Living Local, Sandpoint Living Local and Go Sandpoint Magazine. In addition, they produce a biannual publication, REAL Northwest Living, which is distributed in areas from Spokane, Washington, to the Canadian border and Western Montana; and it published the annual Gig Harbor Visitors Guide.
And it is not only in print that the media company is showcasing their talent, work and support of local businesses and communities. “Like Media has created so much more than just a community magazine,” says Allyia Briggs, Like Media’s director of marketing. Like Media is a full-service agency that helps companies build and execute their marketing plans. Its motto: We build your marketing, so you can build your business.
“It is an entire (print + digital) platform. From our website to weekly and monthly e-newsletters, social media and more, we make sure that our positive hyper-local articles and advertisers are being seen everywhere—which is really unique to this area.”
With a mission to impact the communities they serve in a positive way, owner and publisher Steve Russo is committed to what the company was founded on, especially in today’s world.
“It's unfortunate that mainstream media has turned into what it has. It is on a mission to divide us based on political and religious beliefs, but the reality is, we are all very much the same,” he says. “Most of our beliefs, core qualities, humanity and desire to help others is what makes us all so similar. I feel we all need to get back to identifying as people, community members, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, and not red or blue, pro or against.
“We need to get back to uniting around our commonalities rather than dividing up over our few differences. It is hope that drives us each day because together we are strong and powerful. Hope pushes us to be better versions of ourselves.”
Like Media carries out its mission in a number of ways: telling the good news stories that don't always make the news and spotlighting the people who do wonderful things within our communities; highlighting and sponsoring local events; supporting small-medium local businesses by providing them an affordable platform to share their messaging; and most importantly providing free marketing sponsorships for local nonprofit organizations. Each and every month, Like Media sponsors area nonprofits, organizations, groups and community members in each publication to help ensure they are able to carry out their mission.
Since its inception, Like Media has been committed to connecting local businesses with the people they serve, with the goal of impacting communities in a positive way. The Northwest’s trusted media partner, Like Media is dedicated to taking companies where they want to go through effective and thoughtful strategies that combine traditional media with new technologies.
With 29 years in print and over eight years in the digital marketing sphere, Like Media successfully provides a platform and voice for local companies to reach their target audiences in the most effective way, while saving time and money, and building successful businesses that strengthen communities.
“We are building a unique platform that serves dual purposes, which allows small to medium businesses to effectively build their marketing and brands locally while supporting local philanthropic groups and organizations. There is nothing quite like this in the communities we serve,” Steve says. “What our advertisers should know is that we are actually partners in promoting the goodwill not only locally but in every town we serve. The support they give locally goes well beyond our city boundaries by helping many in need.”
Today, Julie and the Like Media team continue what they set out to do since the beginning: to impact the community they serve in a positive way.
“I am filled with the utmost gratitude to my loyal advertisers and feel indebted to them for helping me do what I love and supporting me in my personal quest to create a community magazine,” Julie shares. “Without them, I would be nowhere. They believed in me and trusted me, and I can't thank them enough!”