Barbara Ellington, Public Affairs Editor
He has come a long way since the years when he planned and executed some of the most memorable parties the island has seen. These days, businessman Garth Walker is busy running what seems to be shaping up to be Jamaica's own magazine empire. Walker, who is the head of Creative Media Events, has launched his third magazine in four years and, at the rate he's churning them out, there could be more down the road.
Proudly packing his three local hits, he arrived at The Gleaner to talk about his newest addition and his long-term plans. Under the Wealth Magazine banner there are now three: the latest - Home Sweet Home and Auto Zone have joined the first - Wealth Magazine (fourth anniversary edition). But his company also owns Adam & Eve Spa; a television show, Business Access, and his monthly Corporate Mingle a vehicle for corporate executives to meet and network. ."After four years, Wealth Magazine is holding its own," Walker responded in reply to our query. "It began with 64 pages" he revealed about the bi-monthly publication. And, the fourth anniversary copy had a whopping 168 pages. Eighty-five per cent is primarily distributed free of cost and what goes on the shelves is to maintain a presence in the market. The magazines generate sufficient advertisement to cover production costs. "Plus, our advertisers get it to their target audiences," Walker noted, adding that some 5,000 copies are printed each run.
The television show Business Access is now in its eighth season and they have still not repeated a guest. "So far, 80 per cent of our guests are from major Corporate Area firms, but we have plans to include some medium-size companies from the rest of the island," Walker told The Gleaner.
The idea for the quarterly auto magazine is based on filling a local niche. Walker said the new publication will cover everything from cars to boats and planes and even 'rides' that are not available in Jamaica. There was nothing like it before. The first edition features the work of a career automechanic and they will continue to go off the beaten track to find stories about the local auto industry players. "We look at topics like auto insurance, car-care tips, how and when to buy or sell, the new/used car business, and a whole lot more," Walker said.
As for Home Sweet Home, topics will include the real estate market, strata companies, home insurance, home equity, building versus buying, mortgages, the hardware sector's involvement, decor, and more. "We are not just about magazines, we are a brand and people like to be associated with a good brand," Walker said.
The future looks bright for Walker and his team; he is already looking to launch two more major projects by year end, and as for spreading his wings away from home - two other islands in the Caribbean are in his direct line of sight.