Biz Buzz: Sun may be setting on local magazine

With its publishers facing mounting debts, legal infighting and a drop in advertising revenue, Central Coast Magazine’s May-June issue might be its last, according to one of the publication’s investors.

Stretching its coverage from Santa Barbara to Monterey, the glossy magazine aimed at affluent readers focuses on travel, luxury lifestyles, gourmet food and award-winning wines.

It’s distributed through subscriptions, newsstands and marketing events, with free copies going to certain hotels and businesses.

Launched in 2003 by Michael and Ann Vidor and John and Liz Summer, the magazine started with 10 issues a year but has dropped to six issues in the last year, according to Jim Smith, one of the magazine’s shareholders and investors, as well as its key lender.

Central Coast Magazine’s last publication run was about 16,000 copies; subscription levels varied, but were somewhere around 6,000 readers, added Smith, who is among the parties involved in various lawsuits involving the Vidors and the Summers.

Neither the Summers nor the Vidors could be reached for comment.

The magazine started losing ad revenue during the recession, Smith said.

“The magazine can’t pay for itself, people just don’t pay their bills these days,” Smith said.

He confirmed that the magazine’s staff of about 10 people was told it was being let go and offices were shut down last week. The lease on the magazine’s office ends this month and has not been renewed, he added.

“The decision was made to suspend the July/August issue, try to reorganize and see if it can survive for the rest of the year,” Smith said.

Several buyers have expressed interest in the magazine, but Smith said it’s too early to tell if a sale is in the making.

“We have never discussed a price with any of these people,” he said. “We haven’t given financial information to any of them.”

In June 2009, John Summer became executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau.

— Melanie Cleveland

Hoagies opens at Avila Hot Springs

Hoagies has its second location in San Luis Obispo County at the Avila Hot Springs.

“The Avila Hot Springs have been here for 100 years, and we think we’ve really updated it,” said one of its owners, Jason Joseph. “Everything is surfer-themed, and we’ve got lots of music, so we’re creating a fun, friendly atmosphere.”

Hoagies is sponsoring reggae bands on Sunday and will have live music on Saturdays and Sundays through the summer, Joseph added.

The restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps, salads and fish and chips in the restaurant as well as at the pool.

The first Hoagies location, owned by the same partners — husband and wife Jason and Kasey Joseph and Nicholas Stieb — has been at 580 Cypress St. in Pismo Beach for about six years, Jason Joseph said.

Hoagies at 250 Avila Beach Drive opened mid-March. It replaced La Mirage, which opened briefly at the beginning of the year, and Mama’s Meatball before La Mirage. Mama’s Meatball continues to operate in The Creamery on Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo.

— Melanie Cleveland