Back in 1989, Karen Alberg Grossman and I had this crazy idea that we could start a trade magazine and compete with DNR, the iconic daily men’s newspaper. DNR was really huge, and many people we talked to about our idea were supportive, but certainly not optimistic, about our chances of survival. Nevertheless, with the backing of the owners of BJI, we conceived a more personal medium that tackled the issues of everyday merchants on Main Street, and hoped it could find a small place in the hearts, minds and pockets of the men’s business.
The first issue of MR came out in March of 1990, and I have to admit that, despite the many bumps along the road, our vision has been warmly received, and our jobs incredibly rewarding. MR has been my home, filled with the enduring friendships and comfortable routines that make life meaningful and enjoyable. During that time, we set the magazine on a path that has helped it to thrive as others have fallen by the wayside, and to build incredibly strong personal and professional relationships with many of our readers and advertisers.
The history of MR has been shaped by an industry of great merchants, unique super sales executives, a vibrant specialty store business and, most recently, huge evolutionary change. I love change, but I also recognize that it’s time for me to get out of the way and admit that a change in vision is good for MR as well.
It has already been announced that Lizette Chin, who I have known for many years and hired back in 2005, will take over the publisher’s role on MR, as part of her new responsibilities as VP, Menswear for the company. She is incredibly competent and well regarded across the business. This opportunity will give her a chance to bring her vision of MR to life, working with Karen and her team to bring it to the next level of success. It’s exactly what’s needed at this critical time to ensure that the magazine and MRketplace.com continue to evolve and grow.
During our tenure together at MR, Karen and I started other successful businesses for BJI and they have grown too. Now, my plate is overflowing, and I need to focus on those ventures and other ideas that need nurturing to grow. I am not going anywhere, and will still be around roaming trade shows and lending the benefit of my experience to those who think it’s worth something. But I will no longer have the day-to-day responsibilities that preclude me from growing other properties within BJI that we think have potential.
As we reflect on the past 25 years, and how much fun it has been, it’s my intention to stay close to you and menswear for much of the next 25. So please don’t say goodbye, and definitely stop asking me about my retirement. I’m not there yet, and look forward to my status as a publisher emeritus of MR (which may or may not mean the guy who used to be here), and to enjoying whatever comes next.