News - Always a Loafer
Twenty-five years ago, I had two small children and almost a full head of hair. My parents and two brothers lived around the corner. I was a partner in a restaurant that had just failed. I was searching for work.
Over the previous few years, I'd become friendly with Debby Eason, the owner of a weekly alternative newspaper. For some reason, I was drawn to call Debby, and we met to discuss a project that she had been thinking about. She wanted to publish a conventioneer guidebook that we would distribute in the new Georgia World Congress Center. Out of that meeting, Debby and I birthed Pocket Atlanta.
Pocket Atlanta was a big success. I was responsible for sales; Debby was responsible for content and production. We didn't know it then, but the guidebook provided the model for a successful partnership that lasted 20 years.
While I was focused on selling Pocket Atlanta, Debby was distracted by the problems of putting out Creative Loafing. In 1980, the newspaper was going through hard times. Debby was committed to the Loaf. She took all available resources and directed them toward putting out the newspaper.
Creative Loafing was a drain on Pocket Atlanta, and it became apparent to me that she was not going to give up on the newspaper. So I told Debby that I could increase sales and help her turn the paper around.
I became the business manager. Basically, I handled sales and marketing; Debby handled production and editorial. It wasn't long before I earned a stake in the Loaf.
During the next 20 years, we built a company that published nine papers in the Southeast. In 2000, Ben Eason, along with his two sisters, Taylor and Jennifer, purchased the company. I became publisher of the Loaf in Atlanta and the company's senior VP of sales.
I've enjoyed working for Ben and his sisters. They possess the same passion that drove Debby and me: to publish the best resource for all the "read and do" in Atlanta.
Last August, I had a conversation with Ben about retiring from Creative Loafing. It was time for me to pursue my personal dreams.
I will always look back on the past 25 years as the best of my life. I have met some amazing people along the way. Readers, advertisers and staff have all had an impact on my life. A lot of us have grown up together. The one thing that still unites us is the Loaf. There is a saying around here, "Once a Loafer, always a Loafer."
I'm proud that my work, along with the work of other Loafers, played a part in the growth of Atlanta. We have helped mold this great city. We have been the voice of the underdog. We have helped small businesses become stronger. We have helped readers open their minds. And these basic values will remain at Creative Loafing long after I leave on Dec. 31.
Thank you, Creative Loafing, for enriching my life and for opening my eyes to be a better person. I have learned to have a more open view of our community and the people who live in it. I will forever be grateful to the Loaf for all that it has brought to my life. This is the last time I will use my title. Scott Walsey, Publisher, Creative Loafing Atlanta. But I will always be a Loafer.