A new Alabama magazine launched Thursday featuring five small towns in Alabama, and this is only the beginning.
“Everybody has a story about a small town, and it's worth rediscovering them,” said Kelly Caldwell, Editor-in-Chief of WEDO Media Inc.
WEDO Media Inc. has produced Lake Wedowee Life Magazine for 14 years. This year, the company, with this new name, is branching out to do a special feature edition. It is called "Alabama Small Towns & Downtowns".
“We know that small towns don’t get coverage and that there’s a lot of cool things to do in small towns in the state of Alabama,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell runs WEDO Media Inc. with her parents, Leisel and Lavoy Caldwell.
The first edition of "Alabama Small Towns & Downtowns" will feature Gadsden, Wetumpka, Wedowee, Northport and Eufaula. It will be roughly 100 pages and distributed in all eight welcome centers across the state for readers to obtain for free.
The magazine will feature shopping, some restaurants and unique stories about each town. The stories will cover topics such as Northport’s Kentuck Festival and a table-setting convention that started in Wetumpka.
An idea in the works
Caldwell said the small-town feeling is what inspired the magazine.
“It’s that feeling you get when you go to a town," said Caldwell. "Not all towns have it; it fills your heart up. It’s all of those things that make you feel welcome.”
The Caldwell family wanted to do an edition like this for years, then started visiting Gadsden and talking to some business owners there who encouraged them to do a statewide publication.
“It’s a free magazine thanks to the amazing support of our advertisers," Caldwell said. "We have 90 plus advertisers in this magazine and that is unheard of for a first launch.”
Caldwell said she also went to conferences and received positive feedback.
“Because of the pandemic, people are not necessarily wanting to go to the large cities, but they feel comfortable walking around in a small town,” Caldwell said. “It’s just so exciting."
The future of WEDO Media Inc.
The plan is to expand the new magazine in the future.
“This year, it’s just a one time of year thing," said Caldwell. "But we’ve packaged it with our Southern Holiday Life magazine. Next year, we want it to be two issues.”
Caldwell said she hopes to eventually add more small towns.
WEDO Media Inc. hosted a launch party on Thursday, April 7, at the Lake Wedowee Winery to celebrate the new edition's release. Caldwell said the gathering was a success and she is thankful for the support she has gained highlighting some of the great things in the state of Alabama.
“We’ve always been shiny-happy,” Kelly Caldwell said. “There’s so much bad news out there and there’s a ton of ways to get the bad news if that’s what you want.
“…There’s so much cool stuff in our state, and it's been a blast to explore, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.”