N2 publishing reaches into neighborhoods
CEA winner in Professional Services: N2 Pulishing
April 30, 2010By Josh Spilker
Duane Hixon moved to Wilmington without a clear plan for work prospects here. “My wife and I moved to Wilmington six years ago, and I was looking at buying a franchise or getting involved in some sort of business,” Hixon said. But his mom gave him the inkling to start a hyperlocal magazine that focused on subdivision residents and communities.
“I was talking with my mom about a neighborhood magazine and selling advertising space to people that wanted to reach those residents,” Hixon said. “We started here in Wilmington and it kind of grew.”
Content in the magazines includes everything from families, neighborhood gardens, pets or other community events. Hixon says that a lot of the content is gathered and written directly by the residents. The purpose is for residents to get to know one another.
“We wanted to build a publication that allowed for people to know others in their neighborhood,” Hixon said. “We wanted to help people draw connections in their neighborhoods.”
The first location in Wilmington was Fairington Farms and then was expanded to Porters Neck Plantation, which N2 worked with for about 5 years.
N2 took off nationally when Hixon asked a friend and former coworker Ed Seals to help expand the company. Seals was in St. Louis at the time, so the two launched there after Wilmington. “We opened up a location in St. Louis and started working on the business model, and as we got the business model down we started to expand.”
N2 Publishing now has magazines in about 45 markets, with plans to expand to 150 in the next two years. Though the media landscape has shifted to a combination of print and online, N2 is comfortable with doing mostly print for the time being. They just opened a new printing facility in Northchase Business Park. N2 will often work with communities to put their magazine on a community’s website, but what they find is that residents prefer a printed magazine.
There are now 15 corporate employees in Wilmington, with independent contractors in all of the cities. Hixon plans to continue expanding N2. Though it started in an empty bedroom in 2004, Hixon expects close to $7 million in revenue for 2010 as they continue to open new locations.
“We’re the largest provider of homeowner magazines in the country, and the goal is to keep that spot and to keep finding great people nationally to partner with,” Hixon said.