Best Practices, Operations, V10I2

My Journey into All Things Shed-Related

I cannot believe that the copy of the magazine out now represents the 60th edition of Shed Builder Magazine. Ten years of publishing this magazine have passed before my eyes. 

By now you have already noticed that Shed Business Journal will be the new name going forward. Hopefully, many more years into the future. 

To break down the name change, I need to take you back to 2014. 

At that time, I knew very little about the shed industry. My education into sheds started with phone calls. 

My first call was to Dan Petersheim of Pine Hill Manufacturing. Then, Steve Borntrager from Cardinal Manufacturing, and a host of others. Each call ended with more leads and additional people from the shed industry for me to reach out to. 

My pitch to all of them started with a mention of who had referred me and then an introduction of myself and my publishing background. I explained that my interest was completely exploratory, and I had no plans to publish anything until I could digest everything I was researching and picking up through numerous phone conversations.

One phone call with Mo Lunsford from Union Grove Lumber ended with an invitation to come to North Carolina. I accepted his invitation. 

We visited a couple of his customers that day, had dinner, and I spent the following day with Allen Lunsford, Mo’s father. 

Allen was my tour guide around the hills of North Carolina visiting local shed builders. I would never have made it as far as we did that day were it not for Allen leading the way, one narrow, winding, hilly road after another. 

I have an especially fond memory of discussing faith and family with Allen since he was the pastor at a local church for many years. 

Then, it was onto Lancaster County Pennsylvania where Richard Burton from Davis-Frost Paint took Matt Poe, our soon-to-be editor, and me to visit countless shed builders, far too many to recount all these years later. 

All the conversations and all the travel led me back to these two words “shed builder.” 

This seemed the most relatable name to industry, insiders and outsiders alike. We bantered around many other names besides this one, but in the end, this seemed to be the one we would start with. 

The words “shed builder” depicted the front-line builders who constructed the structures but also referred to the overall scope of many companies. 

For Matt and I to cover this industry, we needed a name that was the most relatable to the greatest number of people. A name that could be repeated and referred to as often as people conversed about the weather or how their weekend went. 

If you read Shed Builder Magazine and study the articles, and maybe compare one issue to another from time to time, I believe a business theme can be seen throughout. 

Writers, columnists, guest writers, our editor, and I (occasionally), write about the business side of building sheds and the people behind these shed businesses. 

It was not an easy decision to change the title after 10 years in print and online. All marketing and promotion have supported this one title since we began. 

Any doubts I had were quickly erased when our entire team stepped in to reinforce that this was a sound decision. They reminded me of the broad scope of our editorial coverage. 

On the product side, we had already expanded into many different areas such as gazebos, playsets, pet structures, garages, greenhouses, carports and metal structures even though our name made no mention of this. 

From an editorial perspective, we dealt with all the different independent and affiliated groups within the shed industry like dealers, retailers, rent-to-own companies, and haulers. Our name was only partially reflective of what and who we focused our attention on. 

For years, we have been covering a much broader group of businesses and our name should remind the reader of this. 

Publishing is a very relational business. This is one of the main reasons I have enjoyed selling advertising for most of my career. Without strong commitments from our partner-advertisers, we could not bring Shed Builder Magazine to the industry. 

I have always considered readers to be our most important relationship and one that we have not and will never take for granted. Objectivity in how we write articles and cover topics builds trust with the reader. 

A loyal reader is the goal of any trade journal. We have found readers from the shed industry to be some of the most loyal readers of any industry or magazine I’ve ever published. I have held the title of publisher for three different magazines. 

A simple thank you to our readers doesn’t seem to be enough. My pledge, to you, the reader, is that we will continue to serve the shed industry to the best of our abilities. We place too much value on this relationship to take chances that might jeopardize our position in the minds of readers. 

We are certainly not perfect and encourage you to let us know when we miss the mark. This is a two-way street and as with any relationship based on truthfulness where a friendship develops, please speak openly with us. 

We value your opinion and want to hear from you.  

Ten years doesn’t seem like a major milestone especially when I will turn 62 years old later this year. However, when I hear from readers about where their businesses were back in 2014, that they may have started a new shed business during this time, or expanded three-fold or more, it makes me realize that a lot has happened in the past 10 years. 

I shouldn’t take for granted what has occurred over these years. I am grateful that we were the first trade journal to focus on shed building, an overlooked marketplace that has developed into quite a large industry.  

I hope that you have benefited from this magazine’s coverage of shed businesses, and some of your businesses directly, and the industry at large. 

I hope that we have given you valuable information or new insight to address a problem within your business. 

I hope you feel uplifted by the platform we’ve tried to create exclusively for the shed industry and all that goes along with it. You deserve it. 

God willing, we hope to deliver more news, business profiles, and shed industry information for another 10 years. We will strive to do better and leave the gain up to God.

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