Options scraps magazine in favor of other fundraisers

Local nonprofit organization Options Family of Services has ceased publishing the Central Coast franchise of TravelHost, a glossy travel publication distributed to San Luis Obispo County visitors through local hotels.

That means the Central Coast edition of the magazine — which as of 2009 was placed in more than 5,500 rooms in 80 local hotels and was supported by more than 150 advertisers — is now defunct.

The magazine, which is featured in cities across the country, started its local franchise in 2003. The rising cost of print had pushed previous publisher Ferris Ferdon to shut down operations in mid-2009.

Options Chief Executive Mike Mamot took over the venture in 2010 with hopes it would generate revenue and provide job opportunities for the people with disabilities the organization serves.

However, it proved unprofitable, said Options Marketing Director Jacqueline Delaney. After less than a year of ownership, Options could not find a buyer and decided to let the project go.

The nonprofit has since decided to shift focus by increasing its major fundraising events from one to three per year, which has proven successful.

The last two events of 2011 generated a total of $60,000 for the organization, which has an overall operating cost of roughly $6 million, Delaney said.

Options employs about 180 people without disabilities in service of more than 200 people with disabilities, with residential living services, rehabilitation therapy and vocational training.

Meanwhile, Options’ other business, Weeden’s Parcel Service, has shed the name of its previous owner and is now known as Options Parcel Service.

The nonprofit shipping service with locations in Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande uses FedEx and UPS and provides employment and training to eight to 12 people with disabilities.

Additionally, Options has relocated its Morro Bay day program office to 840 Morro Bay Ave. Its corporate headquarters is also located in Morro Bay. Options operates 13 care homes in addition to day programs in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties.

— Julia Hickey