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Regional dog-focused publication slated for spring launch

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A Cumberland County woman is hoping that people's love for their dogs will overcome the challenges of publishing on paper.

Jenn Hollister of South Middletown Township plans to launch a quarterly magazine this spring called CityDog Philadelphia+Beyond.

While its title references the state’s biggest city, the magazine’s tagline carves out a bigger slice of the Keystone state: "from the city of Philadelphia to the Susquehanna Valley to the Pocono Mountains – and everywhere in between."

It’s a labor of love for Hollister, who said her research showed few other resources for dog owners looking for pet-friendly activities in eastern Pennsylvania.

"It’s basically going to be a one-stop shop for dog parents to find information pretty much about anything that is dog-related," said Hollister, who is publishing the magazine as a side project.

She works full-time for rehabilitation provider Select Medical Corp. developing online educational materials, but also has started a part-time pet photography business.

Hollister said she came across the magazine idea after being laid off from another job, with General Dynamics. CityDog Magazine is a Seattle-based franchise with existing publications in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Baltimore.

She was hoping to start publishing the eastern Pennsylvania version in the fall, but is still looking for someone to sell advertising. Her plans now call for a launch in March. A one-year subscription is $20, a two- or three-year subscription is $35. Most of the revenue is expected to come from online and print ads, Hollister said.

In addition to helping dog owners find things to do, Hollister also wants the magazine to let them know about charity events for dog rescue services and provide tips on ensuring dogs purchased from breeders are healthy.

In addition, she hopes to work with the region’s minor-league sports teams to promote their dog-friendly events. Many baseball teams, for example, host “Bark in the Park” events.

Print publications nationwide have notoriously struggled to survive. But Hollister is sure she has found a niche that will support her new endeavor.

Americans spent an estimated $69.36 billion on their pets in 2017, up from $66.75 billion in 2016, according to the American Pet Products Association, an industry trade group. Dogs can be found in about 60.2 million U.S. households, compared to about 47.1 million households with cats.

“It is insane how crazy people are about their dogs,” said Hollister, who has three herself: Jedda, a 17-year-old Shiba/Inu mix; Elvis, a 2.5-year-old Basset hound/Brittany spaniel mix; and Ruger, a 13-month-old Bluetick Coonhound. “People just try to take their dogs everywhere they can. They are that ingrained into people’s families.”

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Joel Berg

Joel Berg

Joel Berg is editor of the Central Penn Business Journal. Born in Philadelphia, raised in Northern Virginia and now living in York, he's a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College and the University of Maryland. Have a question or story idea? Email him at jberg@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JoelBYorkPa.

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