700,000 magazines now printed monthly; firm renovating new HQ in Baymeadows
Starting Money Pages was a financial page-turner for young Alan and Kristin Worley in 2001.
It was the year of 9/11 and the global fears of tragedy and uncertainty. The dot.com bubble had burst, too, after investors bet — and many lost heavily — in tech stocks.
“When we made the decision to start Money Pages, that was a very, very huge risk for us,” Worley said.
Alan left his job selling radio advertising with the WAPE and Rock 105 stations, while Kristin stayed as an account manager at the stations, where they had met, to ensure an income.
“We put a second mortgage on our home and I left a very substantial career at the radio station and a lot of people thought that I was completely crazy starting something with no track record, no history, no branding,” Worley said this week from his leased Baymeadows offices.
Today, more than 700,000 Money Pages magazines, filled with retail, restaurant and business services coupons and specials, are delivered free the middle of every month, including into 619,000 mailboxes from Kingsland, Ga., to Palm Coast.
The rest are delivered to Money Pages franchise owners on the central east coast of Florida and in Georgia, South Carolina and, soon, Tennessee.
Worley, now 43, said nearly 70 percent of his advertising clients are retained monthly — and have been for years — because they see a return on their investment.
He couldn’t say how many households use the Money Pages every month. “But what I can confidently tell you is the 700,000-plus homes we go to, someone in that home has to go to their mailbox, take that magazine out and either look at it or throw it away – but they are touching that product,” he said.
That puts the product into the hands of a decision-maker, he said. His advertising clients see an ROI because of the shelf life and tangibility of having a coupon offer in a magazine.
Annual sales are more than $10 million. In 2014, Worley launched 3D Digital, a full-service digital agency.
Money Pages also has been franchising since 2013, recently selling three franchise territories in Tennessee, where distribution starts in August.
It hasn’t always been easy, but tough times can create opportunity.
During the Great Recession of 2007-09, the business grew. “Different types and categories of business were very open to working with us and that opened up doors,” Worley said.
Over the years, Money Pages has moved or built-out eight times, he said. It relocated in 2008 to the Prominence office park, where it leases 7,000 square feet of space in Building 700 at 8375 Dix Ellis Trail.
Worley said the company employs 54 people, many more than when he and a couple of sales people started in an office park off Beach Boulevard in the Spring Glen area.
The next move is expected in July when Money Pages and 3D Digital move into a Baymeadows office building that Worley bought last Friday.
Through Page Three Holdings LLC, Worley bought a 14,250-square-foot office building on 2 acres at 7892 Baymeadows Way.
Page Three paid almost $1.6 million for the structure built in 1978 and sold by Mina Holdings LLC.
Mina Holdings is led by Randal and Deborah Drew, who also lead PARC Management LLC.
Page Three took out two mortgages from Synovus Bank of Columbus, Ga., for $2 million, including an SBA loan.
As part of that investment, Money Pages has started an almost $653,000 build-out at the newly acquired structure.
Tenant Contractors Inc. is the contractor. The 12,242-square-foot project plans show an executive wing with five offices and a board room, and a main area with at least 15 offices, a production studio, multiple editing suites, a large conference room, printing area and more.
Kasper Architects & Associates is the architect.
The building is about a mile from the Prominence offices.
“It’s giving us an opportunity not only to grow our staff, but to grow what we can do for our clients,” Worley said.
The production studio allows staff to do work in-house rather than rent space. For example, staff will be able to produce social media content, promotions, and brand, testimonial and corporate videos in one location.
The fully soundproofed studio will have a built-in seamless curved wall as part of its production stage, allowing staff and clients to film broadcast-quality videos with multiple subjects.
There also will be exterior changes. A brick wall will be transformed with a wooden feature and the rest of the brick exterior will be painted gray, creating a more modern look, he said.
“We’re doing a pretty dramatic renovation,” Worley said.
In addition to video production, 3D Digital provides website design, social media, digital marketing and other services and operates separately from Money Pages.
Its genesis came as customers asked for help in those areas and Money Pages referred them to other services, and sometimes to competitors.
“I said instead of doing that, I would like to start our own company because people trust us, we have the bandwidth to do it and we have the clients to do it,” Worley said.
Money Pages works with 500 to 700 clients a month, “and so it naturally allowed us an opportunity to get into a digital company,” he said.
Worley said he invested heavily into 3D Digital, building a team of developers, social media specialists, writers, and other team members.
Money Pages’ magazine is printed in Jacksonville at Trend Offset Printing and the company also has a smartphone app.
Money Pages has a direct competitor in Mint Magazine, also a free monthly direct-mail product.
“I think we co-exist very well,” Worley said, explaining that people throughout the country are trained to look into their mailboxes for savings and discount offers.
“Mint has done a really good job of growing their publication. I’ve seen us both grow through the years and it’s pretty incredible,” he said.
He said Money Pages and Mint are distributed at different times. “I think we offer a very nice partnership in the market,” he said, explaining the two both bring savings to residents.
Mint founder Brian Flynn said Money Pages does a good job and the two are great competitors. Mint now is part of the Valassis organization, whose holdings produce several marketing publications in Northeast Florida.
Worley considers the competition “anything that’s putting stress on a marketing budget,” but he he’s a firm believer in marketing and said Money Pages has a TV commercial, billboard, radio campaign and sponsorships.
It sponsors the Jacksonville Jaguars and with SMG at the Veterans Memorial Arena. “We really want to give back to our community as well,” he said.
Worley said he and Kristin, with 22- and 15-year-old daughters and an 11-year-old son, “have never looked back” after starting the company.
Looking ahead, he sees the future of direct mail as “refreshing” because of the scarcity of free time.
“As long as there is a mailbox and it’s constitutional to send mail, it is a way to be able to send your message straight to the decision maker,” he said.