The Almanac Evolution: How a Homegrown Guide Evolved over 20 years
by Kerry Firth
As more and more publications come into our area from outside our community, it’s nice to know the InsideTrack Almanac is home grown with very strong community ties. As founder and publisher of the InsideTrack Almanac, I am often asked how it came to fruition and how long we’ve been publishing our unique guide to the Treasure Coast.
Our story starts in the summer of 1995 when the Disney Resort came to town. I quickly realized that if Disney chose to build its timeshare resort here that other resorts would soon follow. I noticed that our area didn’t have a guide for visitors to use when looking for interesting things to do and places to see. After discussing the prospect of launching a magazine to put in the rooms with local hoteliers, I created a very rough dummy of a publication and pre-sold ads to a number of attractions. In January 1996 the first issue of the Visitor’s Almanac was launched.
The Visitor’s Almanac had a very different look than the InsideTrack Almanac does today, but that’s because it was in its infancy and we had a lot to learn. The black and white publication was patterned after the Old Farmer’s Almanac and printed on bonded, recycled paper. Once we had a published book in hand, the Disney Vero Beach Resort gave us our big break by allowing us to put a book in each of their rooms. We were off and running! For two years the Visitor’s Almanac helped direct visitors to local attractions, shopping, and gave them a bit of history and folklore of our area. Before long, the word spread about our new guide and more and more local residents started going into hotels asking for a copy. Seeing an opportunity to expand, I changed the name to Treasure Coast Almanac in January 1998 and increased the circulation to include chambers, newsstands, local merchants and shopping malls throughout Indian River and St. Lucie counties. We also changed the look by adding color to the pages and revamping the cover!
Over the next six years the Treasure Coast Almanac evolved with the community. As our area became more sophisticated, so did our publication. The grass roots look was transformed into a high gloss, full color design. As our area attracted more residents, we printed more copies to accommodate the need for the guide in new housing developments, medical waiting rooms and local libraries. All the while, the Treasure Coast Almanac staff continued with their hands-on involvement in the community and local sponsorships of charitable events.
It was a proud moment in this mom’s life when my daughter Sheana graduated from college and became my full time partner in the business in 2004. With her new burst of enthusiasm we decided to take our magazine even further than our hometown and entered the world of franchising. In 1998 we changed the name to InsideTrack Almanac and sold our first franchise in Stuart! While we may have spread our knowledge of publishing to other areas, Sheana and I continue to publish the local Treasure Coast InsideTrack Almanac with the same home town loyalty that we always have! While the name and look of the Almanac has changed with our growth, our philosophy of doing our best to promote the town we call home remains the same. Thank you Treasure Coast, for supporting our growth and giving us the best place on earth to publish a tourism guide!