GSL Column: Ross County Insider helps illustrates what it’s like to live, work, and play here
I hope you had a great holiday season and welcome to 2022!
Amid the buzz of Chillicothe’s inclusion on Ohio Magazine’s Best Hometowns for 2021-22, we made a change in one of our publications that helps to promote that designation, but only as part of a culture shift in our community.
Ross County Insider is our first lifestyle magazine and a first attempt at creating a relocation and community guide to serve two purposes. First, we wanted to give employers and Realtors a piece they could hand to people seeking to move into the community that illustrates who and what we are as Ross Countians. What better way to find out more about this incredible place than a magazine that describes “what it’s like to work, live, and play in southern Ohio.”
We also wanted to create a publication to help reinforce the tremendous effort we’ve all undertaken to create the Chillicothe and Ross County that exists today. With all the growth of downtown and the amazing entrepreneurial spirit pulsating through the area, I still get people each week who tell me they didn’t know this small business or organization existed in our area – despite great effort by owners to promote their services.
In short, there’s a lot to be proud of in Ross County, so let’s take the opportunity to chronicle and illustrate it all for everyone.
The Insider includes many of our past favorites, including a county map, QR codes that lead to sections about local schools and education and our membership directory, plus ads from many of our member businesses. We also had first-person accounts from downtown business owner Courtney Lewis, local photographer Nathan Hirschler, plus articles about the Paper City Mentoring Project, Hope Clinic, and Fifty West Brewing Company. We also include features on local arts, parks, communities, history, and festivals.
One great part of this guide, however, is the amazing partnership that pulled it off. Months ago, I approached Metropolis Design Studio principal owners Chad McAllister and Jarrod Depugh with an idea to flip our traditional membership guide on its side. I showed them other publications like what I was thinking – ones that cost thousands to produce, but don’t have local people working on them or writing for them. That’s not a knock on those other publications, but I wanted to keep the money for this publication in the community – where the pride in Chillicothe and Ross County already exists.
What happened next was amazing. Chad and Jarrod took the project and ran with it – to the point of creating a new business inside the Metropolis umbrella called Star City Press. That business would be tasked with the writing, photography, layout, and design of the new guide. Bobbi Kellough, our membership director, sold the ads.
It’s nearly impossible to name all the people who contributed photos and content to Ross County Insider. They did so because they love the community and have pride in how far we’ve come. The best part is that we’ve only scratched the surface as this was our first effort to produce the relocation and community guide. We have more stories to tell. We have already received a lot of businesses reaching out to get information about advertising in the next guide.
There are many other things we can feature and spotlight as our community continues its march toward becoming a vibrant community. We’re excited to bring this publication to you but know there’s room to grow.
Our next Ross County Insider will publish in early 2023, but sales will start in earnest in the summer. But you don’t have to wait until then to start getting your thoughts together on ads. In fact, you can reach out now and let Bobbi (email@example.com) know you want to be a part of the next Insider. If you’d like one, please let us know or stop by our office and pick one up.
Mike Throne is president and CEO of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce. He also co-hosts, with Marty Ford, the local podcast Feels Like Home, which is found wherever you get your podcasts. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.