Biz Buzz: Caregiver for disabled buying travel magazine

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

Options is buying the Central Coast franchise of TravelHost, 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/August/September 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, said Mike Mamot, Option’s chief executive officer.

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 Mamot.

“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 said the purchase was made out of the $6 million budget without having to take out a loan.

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

The deal closed Feb. 18.

— Melanie Cleveland

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Richardson Properties, a real estate firm with offices in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande, has hired longtime area broker Lisa Newton of Avila Beach.

Newton — formerly of Coldwell Banker Premier in San Luis Obispo — serves on the county’s Avila Valley Advisory Committee and boards of the Avila Beach Civic Association and Avila Beach Sea Life Center.She is a founding member of the Pismo Coast Association of Realtors and past president of the San Luis Obispo Association of Realtors.

— Julia Hickey