SLO County firm that helps disabled people buying TravelHost Central Coast franchise

A company dedicated to helping people with developmental disabilities and brain injuries is going into the magazine business.

Options is buying the TravelHost Central Coast franchise, a glossy travel publication distributed to county visitors through local hotels.

Ferris Ferdon, who owned the Travelhost distributorship for the Central Coast for more than four years, stopped publishing the magazine with the July/Aug/Sept. quarterly issue last year. The magazine was placed in more than 5,500 rooms in 80 local hotels and was supported by more than 150 advertisers, he said.

Options’ core business is helping people with cognitive disabilities live independently and integrated into the community with jobs in all types of businesses.

Buying a magazine provides his clients with a new source of employment, he said.

Options also owns Weeden’s, two mail shipment stores in Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, and employs his clients in grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, Hearst Castle and San Simeon campground, according to Mike Mamot, the company’s chief executive officer.

“I like to think that we’re bringing another asset to the community in a creative way--and we’re very much supporting other businesses,” he added.

Mamot declined to say how much he paid for the magazine, although he did say they were able to swing the purchase out of their $6 million budget without having to take out a loan.

Options serves 200 disabled people in the county, and has about 175 non-disabled employees. Mamot expects Option’s clients to work in the distribution of the magazine, he added.

The deal closed Feb. 18.