Penzeys Cooks Up Magazine

Dec 01, 2004 10:30 PM  By

The Penzeys Spices catalog has garnered a cult following, in large part because of the half-dozen or so recipes included in each issue. Now the Milwaukee-based cataloger/retailer has cooked up a spin-off of sorts: Penzeys One, a food magazine “for and by everyone.”

Set to debut in mid-November, Penzeys One will mail every other month. While the catalog measures 8″ × 10″, the magazine will be 9″ × 11″. The larger trim size, says spokesperson Margie Gibbons, makes it easy to prop up and work with in the kitchen but also inviting enough to curl up on the couch with.

So far Penzeys is promoting the magazine only to its 300,000 customers. Penzeys features a link on its Website to the Penzeys Cooks Up Magazine Penzeys One site, and in the most recent issue of the catalog, which mailed mid-October, owner Bill Penzey discussed the magazine in his institutional letter and even included sample pages. A one-year subscription costs $19.95; Penzeys One will also be available at the company’s 20 stores.

Penzeys is hardly the first cataloger to try to succeed in magazine publishing. Kitchenware cataloger/retailer Williams-Sonoma folded Taste in fall 2002, just two years after launching the travel and entertaining lifestyle magazine. Horticul-ture cataloger White Flower Farm introduced The Gardener in spring 2001, only to shut it in winter 2003.

But Bill Penzey isn’t discouraged. “We have a great relationship with our customers. We hear great stories, get cooking tips in our call center and stores, and we’re going to focus more on the content we’re already creating,” he says, referring to the recipes the company publishes in its catalog. Editorial content will be handled by up to a dozen staffers, some of whom are dedicated solely to the magazine and others of whom work on it in addition to their catalog duties.

The premiere issue of Penzeys One includes 12-14 pages of ads for Penzeys products, multiple recipes, and articles highlighting readers and their cooking accomplishments. Penzeys One will also include ads from UNICEF and the American Cancer Society. For now, Penzey says, the magazine will run relatively few ads and will rule out those for products from competing brands.