If you’ve seen this classic SNL skit, then you know what the song, “Don’t Fear The Reaper” needed. More cowbell. Well, I’ve been thinking about local businesses here in town and I’ve decided what they need. They need more cake. You may wonder how I came up with this idea, well, here it is: The local businesses in town have a fever and the only prescription for this fever is...more cake! I decided I’m going to take a cake to a business once a month and see if they’ll take at least five minutes from their workday for an MBIP Cakebreak and try and restore some sanity in this town.
The first business I decided to go to was Peoria Magazines. This is a compact staff that somehow puts out three different print magazines at multiple times through the year, they maintain a website and other social media pages and they host numerous programs and events around town. These are some busy and overworked people. I think they need some cake, ASAP! So it’s off to my favorite local bakery to pick up a cake to take over to Peoria Magazines for the very first MBIP Cakebreak!
Everybody knows about Trefzger’s Bakery here in Peoria. It’s the oldest bakery and they’re known for their cakes, thumbprint cookies and other baked goods. But you can also get specialty cakes made here and so I called and asked them to make a cake for Peoria Magazines that would look like a magazine cover. I also told them to put, “Happy Anniversary” on it because they recently celebrated a one year anniversary of being in their new office building. So, let’s go in and see what they came up with!
I walked in to the new spacious front area of the bakery and look at the cake they came up with! It’s amazing! I love how they duplicated the logo and put the Peoria skyline on it! This is way better than I ever could have imagined and I have a pretty crazy imagination! Wonderful job, Trefzger’s! I wish I had the name of the woman holding it behind the counter, but I forgot to write it down! I really need to start remembering to do that! Anyway, fantastic cake, Trefzger’s now it’s on to Peoria Magazines!
Here we are at the new office space for Peoria Magazines. They’re now located on University, right behind Schnuck’s Grocery Store. One thing that bothered me was the, “Please Use Other Door,” door. That always drives me nuts. Why have the door there if you can’t use it? What’s it there for then? A decoration? Get rid of it, put wood over it, drywall it or whatever works. It really annoys me. I probably stood there about five minutes obsessing over this and then realized that the heat index was over 100 degrees and the cake was probably melting, so I went in and tried to forget about that door. But seriously, why have a door there if you can’t use it? Okay, I’m letting it go! Let's move on!
That’s Samantha at the desk up in front of the offices here and she’s the Client Coordinator. I didn’t call in advance because I always just like to barge in and kind of disrupt everything and I told her I had something special I wanted to do this afternoon. She led me into Jan Wright’s office. Jan’s the President and Publisher of the company and I’ve wanted to meet her for a long time. She and her husband Dave started this company back in 1989 which was the same time I was starting my magazine People of Peoria. The three of us were the first people in Peoria to do desktop publishing and none of us had any experience doing this and kind of winged it! I lasted for three years and moved to New York. Jan and Dave were much more successful on a business level (they were actually able to sell advertising. I pretty much just pissed off a lot of the business community back then!) Dave passed away in 1997 and Jan took over the business and as I noted in the introduction, they now publish three magazines, have a website, social media pages and they host programs and events around town. You can read about the history of all of this in an article that Jan’s son, Jon wrote for the Art & Society magazine right here. Jan was curious about what I wanted to do, but offered to give me a tour of the new office space first, so let’s take a tour!
This room houses every magazine that Peoria Magazines has ever published. That’s the first Inter-Business Issues newsletter which morphed into a magazine, there’s The Peoria Woman, which Jan was the editor of and iBi today and at the bottom are the three magazines currently being published, Peoria Progress, iBi and Art & Society.
There’s the server room, the kitchen area, the conference room table and a board with upcoming issue themes and I’ve added a little something to that myself. Yeah, I can’t let it go!
Here’s some PJ Star articles written about Jan and Dave through the years. The last one is about how they got phone calls for President Bush in their office. Jan told me why this happened, but I can’t remember. I really need to start writing this shit down!
And here’s the rest of the staff at Peoria Magazines: First up is Tarryn, who’s the Graphic Designer, Nikki who’s the Director of Business Development, Jon who is the Managing Editor and that’s a picture of Jon and his wife Mae, who’s a Contributing Writer for the magazines. Mae wasn’t here today, she was last seen here on the blog eating pills, so she may still be recovering from that night! You can read all about the staff right here.
Let Them Eat Cake—The MBIP Cakebreak!
We all assembled around the conference table and I told them they were working too hard and needed to take a cakebreak! Jon opened up the box and everyone was really happy and surprised with the Trefzger’s specialty cake! Work was quickly forgotten and we moved in to the land of cake. This was the goal of this debut episode and it's worked!
I didn’t skimp on the cutlery for this debut episode of “Let Them Eat Cake.” I got a 48 piece combination set of Nice Combination Heavy Duty Plastic Cutlery. No expenses are spared here at MBIP! I also got Brian Wilson paper plates and Jon did the honors of cutting the cake!
Jon and I decided to mark this debut episode by feeding each other the first piece of cake! Pretty sweet!
I decided to come here for this first episode because it’s always awkward just showing up at a business and trying to do something like this and I knew this would be a friendly place to start this monthly series. It was really a lot of fun and we talked about publishing, deadlines, advertising, Peoria and I got to tell my “You Just Don’t Walk In Off The Street And Write For The Peoria Journal Star” story for the umpteenth bazillion and one times!
This was a blast and a great start to this new monthly series! Thanks to everyone at Peoria Magazines for playing along and to Trefzger’s Bakery for the amazing and delicious specialty cake! We’ll see you all tomorrow!
4416 N. Prospect Road
4736 N. University Street