Seasons of Minnesota magazine
WILLMAR -- In the latest edition of Seasons of Minnesota, there's a photo gallery of the Willmar High School music groups and another photo collection of Community Christian School's annual auction and carnival.
There's an article about growing tomatoes, a recipe for pineapple pie and a two-page profile of Heritage Bank.
It's always gratifying for Sheila Quinn to deliver the latest copy of the magazine into the hands of local readers.
"Sometimes people will grab it and open it and start reading it right away," she said. "It makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile."
Quinn, the owner of Quinn Graphics and Publishing of Willmar, is the creative mind behind Seasons of Minnesota, Kandiyohi County's first lifestyle magazine.
A native of Kandiyohi County, she spent several years as an art director and then as an editor in the magazine industry in California, where practically every community had its own local magazine.
"Every time I'd come back here to visit, I'd notice there wasn't one," she said. "I told myself if I ever moved back, I would start one."
Two years ago she fulfilled her vow by moving back to the Willmar area and launching the inaugural edition of Seasons.
The glossy magazine, which is published every other month, celebrates all things local: local businesses, local happenings, local people. It's rich with articles and color photographs.
Quinn said her goal is to produce a quality magazine "because I think we deserve it. It's about taking pride in the community. I think we have a lot going for us."
Publishing Seasons six times a year has been a labor of love. At first Quinn did almost all the work herself, from selling the advertising to laying out the pages.
As the magazine gradually expanded, so did the staff. Quinn is still intensely involved in each stage of production and writes the publisher's column that appears in every edition.
"It's kind of my life. I live and breathe the magazine," she said. "When we're at deadline time, it's nonstop."
But she now also has a contributing editor, an advertising salesperson and a designer, as well as someone who helps distribute the magazine's 2,500 copies at more than 100 locations around Kandiyohi County.
"Luckily I have some people who are dependable, who can help me now. It makes it less stressful," she said.
The Willmar Police Department and Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office pen regular columns about public safety and crime prevention. Local photographer Dennis Benson also contributes many of the cover shots, along with some of the photos that appear throughout the rest of the magazine.
"He's been very helpful," Quinn said. "He just enjoys doing it, but I really appreciate it because it takes a load off my shoulders."
The magazine, originally 24 pages, has grown to 32 pages. There's never a shortage of material to publish. Publication of the July-August issue is still almost two months away but Quinn has most of the content already lined up.
"I try to have a variety so it appeals to a broad range of people," she said.
The magazine's photo galleries have consistently been a hit. For readers, it has been a way of connecting with the community, Quinn said. "People always think it's exciting if they see themselves or they see someone they know."
She also welcomes the local flavor provided by input from readers.
"Sometimes people will write to me or call me with an idea," she said. "I really like it when people call."
Quinn's dream is to continue to expand the magazine with more pages and new features. With time and additional advertising, it'll happen, she said.
Many of her advertisers have stuck with her since the first edition.
"My advertisers love the magazine," she said. "They're excited when the new one comes out. I get comments from readers all the time about how much they love it and what a great idea it was. I do feel pretty blessed that I get to do something I love."
Seasons of Minnesota is available at 100-plus locations around Kandiyohi County, including grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and medical offices. The magazine also can be found online at www.seasonsminnesota.com.