TAMPA, Fla. — For the past seven years, EDGE Business Magazine has focused on telling the stories of people behind the company. Now it's their story that needs to be told to survive.
The pandemic has been the great equalizer and disruptor for business owners across the country.
How companies operate, make sales and network with old and new clients is in constant flux.
Kelly Wilson, Founder and CEO of EDGE Media Hub is still finding her way in a COVID world.
"As a single mother business owner... I am on a mission," Wilson told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska. "The mission is to bring the business community together, and I didn't want competitors to look at each other like competitors; I feel as if we all work together and maybe celebrate each other's niches and specialties that way we can all work together."
EDGE Business Magazine stands for entrepreneurs dedicated to growth and excellence. Launched in 2013, focusing primarily on south Tampa, Wilson says the beginning of 2020 looked promising.
The company was not only expanding their digital footprint but highlighting businesses across Hillsborough County. Then COVID hit, and the world shut down. Now, her magazine is in jeopardy.
Her staff went from 10 to four in a matter of weeks.
"It would be sad not to have this issue published," Wilson said. "We have pretty much an editor, graphics designer, photographer and me. I'm doing sales and the writing, and I'm really doing it all. Small businesses, we are all in a tough spot, and we need all the visibility and highlighting."
The theme for EDGE Business Magazine's fall issue is "A Tribute to the Small Business Community, the Everyday Entrepreneur."
The issue highlights a total of eight small businesses. The goal is to connect the reader to the humanity of the company.
"If we can personalize you behind the business, then the community knows who you are they feel like they know you and want to do business with you people want to do business with people that they trust," Wilson said.
"Community, community, community. Community is what it's really all about; we share stories. The most relevant thing that we can do right now and the most important is to celebrate the small businesses. There are so many small businesses that have closed and so many trying to hang in there."
One of the businesses profiled is Michael Murphy Gallery M! President of the gallery Michael Murphy said the magazine is an essential resource for Tampa businesses.
"She is one of those resources that we take for granted that if we didn't have it, we would probably miss it," Murphy said.
"It's a resource that would be gone, and it's a resource that has worked in our favor. Very proactive not just for me but everyone involved in the magazine and her organization, and she is constantly trying to push the edge on what she does."
Murphy says the super-rich are still buying expensive pieces of fine art. But, it's not like it was, and selling a piece online for $30,000 sight unseen can be a tough sell.
Murphy says the EDGE Business Magazine profile could connect him with potential customers in ways the internet can't.
"The more we can touch them, the more they feel connected to us. You know there is a disconnect on the internet," Murphy said.
The uncertainty for Murphy weighs heavy, like an unsold piece of art collecting dust on the wall.
"It could turn tomorrow that is the scariest part of all this," Murphy said. "I can't stress too much about the future. And now, it's almost like okay we are going to do this, this week cause we have no clue what could happen again."
Wilson says no matter what, she will get the fall edition printed. But, she still has ad space available and needs all the help she can get.
"I'm old school. There is something about having a tangible item in your hand and being able to flip pages," Wilson said. "Really, the main thing is funding and the distribution. If you buy a full page in the issue, we'll actually buy $250 in gift cards from your favorite local restaurant well, even promote it that you bought it, and you can donate an ad."
For more information on the magazine and the business profiled in the upcoming issue, click here.