Creating Connections and Offering Great Local Deals For 20 Years

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History: Active Media Publishing
By Dennis McNabb, Staff Writer

Advantage Direct Mail Advertising Magazines offering great local deals

Do you enjoy reading the magazine you hold in your hands? Do the articles tickle your fancy or inspire your entrepreneurial spirit? If we’ve done our job effectively, you have hopefully learned something new about your local community. Whether it’s about a new business, a business you were unaware of, or one of the wonderfully diverse, dynamic and exciting people who are developing and running said businesses, our stories are meant to shine a light on the movers and shakers in our neighborhoods. We are a small locally-owned business built with the sole purpose of spotlighting other small locally-owned businesses. A lot of passion, hard work and dedication go into our publications, but have you ever wondered where it all began? We so regularly explore the foundations of other businesses, but have you ever been curious about ours? Let’s take a journey together and turn the page back 20 years to 2003, when we published our very first Tigard Advantage Guide.

It all began in the spring of 2003 when our illustrious leader, Matt Nelson, took it upon himself to spearhead a marketing campaign for the Tigard Chamber of Commerce. At that time, Active Media (the company who publishes the Advantage Magazine) was a fledgling entity, just three years old and focused on Graphic Design and Print Brokering. The Chamber, which Matt had recently become an ambassador for, was looking to address a long-standing issue: a lack of distributable marketing material. In order to increase membership, they needed to advertise. A small, easy-to-read, easy-to-distribute brochure would do the trick, but that meant addressing a second issue, which was a lack of funds to pay for the printing of said brochure.

Advantage Direct Mail Advertising Magazines offering great local deals

So, to begin, Matt suggested a fundraiser. Since Active Media was in the business of graphic design and print, and Matt himself had a background in sales, he proposed publishing a coupon booklet. It was something he could do in a relatively short span of time and without much help. The Chamber agreed to it, provided he could garner support from members at the next Chamber meeting. The reaction was overwhelming, with over 75% of those in attendance agreeing it was a great idea. Over the next six weeks, Matt went door-to-door signing businesses, designing their ads and building that first coupon booklet which he named the Tigard Advantage Guide, printing on October 15, 2003. As a fundraiser, it was a huge success. The Chamber earned more than enough money to produce their marketing brochure. But more importantly, on a personal level, the entire process had planted a seed.

Active Media, up until that point, had lacked direction. Matt’s work consisted of odd jobs picked up wherever they could be found. With the success of the coupon booklet, an untapped market was revealed with opportunities abound. Soon, Matt was receiving calls from some of the businesses who had advertised asking when the next coupon booklet would be coming out. They had seen such a terrific response from the community, they wanted more! What Matt had initially considered to be a one-off fundraising project now seemed to be a much bigger opportunity.

The second direct mail coupon booklet was released in January 2004. Matt increased the size of the booklet from half to full page, printed in full color instead of single color ink and mailed all of them to local home addresses versus simply having them available to pick up in lobbies of local businesses. Participating businesses said the response from the community was even better than the first time around, and it was at that point Matt shifted the focus of Active Media. He continued to service those clients he had already established relationships with, in the graphic design/print brokering sphere, but reprioritized his remaining efforts toward building the Advantage Guide.

Tigard Community Advantage Guide Direct Mail

Since that time, the magazine has grown and evolved in countless ways. Where there was once a lone man — Matt juggling a half-dozen different responsibilities — there is now a staff of over 60 individuals employed in a variety of capacities. Where there was once only one magazine version mailed out to homes in one city, there are now over 50 versions of the publications mailed out to over 50 separate areas all around Oregon and southern Washington. Other publications have been acquired under the Active Media umbrella — including Your Neighborhood, The Clipper Coupon Paper, MOM Magazine and The Mountain Times newspaper in Welches — and since incorporating personal interest stories like the one you are reading, we’ve expanded to include Lifestyle and Living Magazines in Beaverton, Lake Oswego and Wilsonville.

It’s been an incredible journey, one filled with far more peaks than valleys, and we’re far from reaching its conclusion. Matt Nelson, his family and the entire staff here at Active Media are all incredibly grateful and humbled to play such an integral role in educating our communities about their locally-owned businesses. It’s a unique opportunity that we have to unite the two, and to encourage increased patronization and to share the inspiring stories of business owners which might otherwise go untold. With 98% of our advertisers being locally-owned, we are and hopefully will continue to be a chosen voice for the mom-and-pop businesses in our neighborhoods.

In celebration of the 20 year anniversary of our first Tigard Advantage Guide publication, we would like to invite you to come down to the Broadway Rose Theatre on Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 a.m. and join us for this monumental occasion. We are coming around full circle and will be hosting “Good Morning Tigard” with the Tigard Chamber of Commerce, and we would love an opportunity to share and give back to the community where we started our epic journey. To the organizations, individuals and communities who have worked with us over the years, and to the readers who have enjoyed receiving our publications over the last two decades, we send a heartfelt thanks to each of you. We appreciate the opportunities that you have given us, and continue to give us, to serve you with each issue we produce. We are looking forward to the next 20 years.

The Crew of Community Advantage Magazine.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Advantage Magazine!