Years in print:
St. Louis Homes & Gardens Debuts
By Rick Stoff
St. Louis Homes & Gardens magazine is scheduled to debut in April .
The bi-monthly publication is a spinoff from Kansas City Homes and Gardens, said publisher Joe Sweeney, former general manager of the Kansas City title.
He described the new publication as a “home shelter and lifestyle publication. It could best be described as a combination of Architectural Digest and Better Homes & Gardens, specifically written about and for St. Louis. We will be a very optimistic magazine. There will never be and negativism in any way.”
St. Louis Homes & Gardens could be expected to target many of the same upscale readers as St. Louis Magazine. However, Sweeney said, the recent announcement that St. Louis Magazine would be converted from a glossy to a tabloid format was not a factor in planning for the new publication.
“I made my commitment in May of 1992 and opened the office here in November. I have been researching this market actively for four years,” Sweeney said. “I think it is unfortunate that the city magazine here is making a format change. Every city needs a city magazine – I wonder what St. Louis Magazine is going to be like.”
St. Louis Homes & Gardens began as a partnership of Sweeney and the publisher of the Kansas City Magazine but is now owned by Sweeney and a minority partner, Dick May. Sweeney said May was formerly a minority shareholder in the Riverfront Times and now owns 10 percent of St. Louis Homes & Gardens.
Sweeney was publisher of the Kansas City Lawn & Garden Guide before selling it to Kansas City Homes and Gardens and joining that magazine’s staff.
The St. Louis magazine will be similar to – but not a clone of – the Kansas City magazine. Sweeney said the most significant difference will be the ratio of advertising to editorial copy.
“The ad-to-copy ratio of Kansas City Homes and Gardens is extremely high. Our optimum will be 55 percent ads, exactly the same as Better Homes and Gardens.”
Sweeney’s advertising prospectus states: “Each issue of the St. Louis Homes & Gardens Magazine will take its discerning readers on a tour of the finest residences in St. Louis and neighboring communities. From opulent to interesting, unique to sensational, St. Louis Homes & Gardens is your wish book come true.”
(Originally published in the St. Louis Journalism Review 3/1993).
Sold to Weisner Publishing in 1996 and renamed St. Louis Homes & Lifestyles.