Edible San Francisco Looking for a Buyer
Edible San Francisco editor and publisher Bruce Cole told SFoodie he's been quietly shopping around the magazine for the past six months, looking for a buyer or investors. Cole blamed the yearlong economic downturn for a fall-off in ad revenues. "I lost half my ad revenue last fall, quite a few restaurants who were no longer in a position to take out ads," Cole said. Edible San Francisco focuses on the local and sustainable food movement. Each of the quarterly issues focuses on a theme -- for the summer 2009 issue, it was school lunch.
The current issue focuses on school lunch.
Cole's ideal scenario is a buyer willing to step in as publisher, and keep him on as editor. Failing that, Cole said he's seeking investors, though he stressed that the magazine was in no immediate peril of folding. "We had a 40 page-count for two years," Cole said, "now I'm down to 32," a size Cole said was sustainable -- at least for the immediate future. Edible San Francisco's fall issue is due to hit the stands in the next few weeks, though it's rumored that Cole has had difficulty paying the printer, and some contributors from the spring 2009 issue have reportedly not received payment.
One of the nation's early Edible Communities magazines, Edible San Francisco was originally published from Ojai, Caif., with Cole as its editor here in S. F. Cole bought the magazine in 2005. Published quarterly, the free publication relies on ad revenues and fundraisers. There are now 61 Edible Communities publications in North America, according to national Director of Operations Kelly Day. They operate under license agreements with the nonprofit Edible Communities, Inc.
Despite the Edible San Francisco's troubles, other Edible publications are thriving, said Day, who noted that ad revenues nationally are up 30 percent over last year. "We just added five or six publications," she said. "Everybody's going down and we're going up. It shows that people are really getting into the local food movement"
Full disclosure: John Birdsall wrote the cover feature for Edible San Francisco's spring 2009 issue, but is no longer a contributor.