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The Briefing

The Briefing THE BOSS’ MANAGEMENT STRATEGY Three years ago, the founders of Valley Scene Magazine were putting out an 18-page publication every other week covering a now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t entertainment scene in the San Fernando Valley. Today the Granada Hills-based news magazine, distributed free to readers at local spots like health clubs and retail stores, is about to publish its first 48-page edition, and no one’s worried about a dearth of content. “A big challenge has been to accommodate what we consider the important messages in the 48 pages,” said Joshua S. Kushner Sr., who co-founded Valley Scene with Patricia Bradford Rambo II. Kushner holds the position of publisher; Rambo is editor-in-chief. As the Valley’s population has grown, so too have the opportunities for Valley Scene, which has carved out a niche as an alternative newspaper focusing on leisure-time activities ranging from restaurants to weekend escapes. Kushner spoke to Business Journal reporter Shelly Garcia about the growing appetite for news of local Valley events and venues. “We’ve grown in pages basically because of the advertising increase. Obviously, we have the editorial to support it. We’ve easily doubled our growth since the beginning. “In the past two years I wouldn’t go back as far as three averages of home incomes have increased. I think that the consumer confidence in our Valley has increased, and I think people are spending more on entertainment, on their lifestyle as opposed to investing in the stock market. People are not going to drive one-half hour to an hour if they want to enjoy a decent restaurant or entertainment. “Retail businesses in the Valley have seen that growth and, as it churns, I think you’ll see more retail businesses opening up. When I go to meet with a client they ask what is the difference between this paper and the other two (similar publications). For one thing, to get into the homes of people in the San Fernando Valley you have to talk about the Valley. People want to read what’s as local to them as possible. “We owned an advertising agency. We were basically selling advertising and placing these retailers in other newspapers, and they weren’t necessarily getting a good product. Say it’s a business that has a high turnover. If they advertise in one of our competitors’ papers that have a circulation that spans all the way to Torrance, they’re wasting their money in areas that aren’t helping them. So this gives them a more captive audience. “Our goal is basically to continue to grow at a rate of 20 percent to 30 percent in pages a year. At this point, we don’t have a maximum page count, but we have been growing at that rate, so I’d like to keep that at a steady pace. “At that rate, we can increase the calendar, community, arts and entertainment and stories on local businesses. We’re not really politically oriented, but if we do grow big enough, I can see us doing some of those stories too.”

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