Entrepreneur Series, An Interview with Maxine Carter-Lome of Weathervane Enterprises, Inc.
Written by Becky Bruso
Keeping Business Local Gets Her Vote!
After a very short time speaking with Maxine, it became really clear that she is all about keeping it local!
Maxine and her husband are the new owners of the Your Hometown Shopper and The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles under the umbrella of Weathervane Enterprises, Inc.
I met Maxine in her Hall Road office in late-January. Here I was also greeted by her feline friend, Izzy.
Izzy “works” with Maxine daily. From the very vocal greeting I got from Izzy, I got the sense that Izzy was interviewing me to make sure I was alright to meet with her owner.
I think I passed Izzy’s test. She left us to talk after making herself known to me with a windy serenade of meows!
Maxine is a strong believer in keeping it local. She takes pride in making purchases from local businesses rather than big box retailers.
She knows firsthand how such grassroots efforts benefit the creation of a strong community. Maxine and her husband came to Sturbridge from the Great Barrington, MA in the Berkshires, where community is the norm.
Maxine hopes to foster her love of community and build up area community efforts here in Sturbridge.
Fostering Community through Publications such as Your Hometown Shopper
One of the ways she envisions doing this is through her continuation of the Your Hometown Shopper. Maxine described for me how she loves going into a local establishment and seeing people reading and commenting on the Your Hometown Shopper.
It is a piece of community history and a great source of information about the business resources we have to offer here in the greater Sturbridge area.
Your Hometown Shopper, she notes, is a part of the fabric of our community having been in the mailboxes of each resident and business of Sturbridge, Fiskdale, and Holland for 10 years.
New editions come out monthly and are available for pick-up at over 30 high-traffic business locations throughout the Tantasqua Region. It can also be read online.
The Your Hometown Shopper even provides graphic design support free of charge to those who place ads in their booklet. Another area of specialty where Maxine provides services is through offering media and advertising production capabilities to area businesses on a fee for service basis.
As part of her publication operations, Maxine can provide all production related agency services. Maxine notes that having a graphics person on staff at a small business is real hurdle for these smaller organizations. Since she recognizes this as a struggle for such businesses; she has opened up herself and her staff to taking on these types of production run projects.
This is a win for Maxine’s staff as they can get variety and experience in working on projects other than their in-house monthly publications in between monthly runs. It is also a win for local businesses who may be short on time and resources to accomplish a specific media production run but need to get the word out without creating a larger full marketing campaign.
The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles
This publication seeks to provide content and valuable information for the Collector, Dealer, and Antique Hobbyist which is not found elsewhere. For example, there is a section entitled, “What’s Selling on eBay” It is not your average section, as it dissects an ebay purchase to understand the rarity, cost, eBay seller, number of bids and bidders, and a brief discussion of the historical significance the item’s eBay purchase.
A number of contributing expert antique writers provide additional fresh content for the print and online versions of this journal.
The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles also accepts publication entries from all antique shows across the US. They are published regardless of whether or not the show participates in the Journal’s paid advertising. Maxine wants to represent the full offering for these sorts of events for her readers.
Maxine has a rich background in Marketing prior to her days in the Berkshires as well as a background in antiques and collectibles. The purchase of The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles together with Your Hometown Shopper allowed Maxine to marry these two interests and areas of expertise.
Early Cellular Industry Marketer and Publisher
Her marketing days began in the early Cellular Industry. Here she was involved in a marketing company for Marketing Analysts and marketing communication programs. Her expertise in the cellular industry led her to be in charge of the charter issues of a Magazine for Cellular Marketing for all telephone dealers, and bell wiring.
Maxine had experience launching Cellular Marketing ( the publication) which was the industry’s premier trade magazine covering the business and marketing of cellular technology, products, and services. From here, she launched two other cellular technical publications. She stayed in the cellular industry until the bottom fell out.
Next, she and her husband moved to the Berkshires where they bought and ran a Historic Bed and Breakfast. She also did Marketing Consulting for schools, non-profits, and youth organizations. These positions allowed her to be close to her family and work from home.
It is within her consulting practice that she was able to leverage her publishing background when she landed The Southern Berkshire Shopper’s Guide as a client.
Keeping it local in the Berkshires mean they even had their own local currency to exchange amongst the local businesses. These were called Berkshares.
A Rich Family Heritage of Antiques and Collectibles
Maxine has a strong interest in antiques with her love of collecting Books in Early American Colonial History. This interest allowed Maxine to become a dealer by launching her Patriot Reading Room in the Berkshires. She was then able to share her finds and market these to other collectors through this shop. She noted her husband is also a collector. He collects guitars.
Maxine is no stranger to what it takes to work with an extensive collection. In 2005, her grandfather, who was also an avid collector, passed away and left Maxine his uncatalogued collection of 6,000 autographs.
For her grandfather, the acquisition of the autograph and meeting of the famous people at operas, shows, and other public events were his passions. As a result, it took Maxine 7 years to catalog, display, and ultimately sell her grandfather’s autograph collection.
A New 15 Year Adventure Begins in Sturbridge
Looking for a new 15-year adventure after having sold their Historic B&B in the Berkshires, Maxine and her husband purchased The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles and Your Hometown Shopper in October of 2014. The sales offering pairing these publications brought together Maxine’s publishing and marketing experience with her love of antiques and collectibles.
Weathervane Enterprises, Inc. employs 11 people and Izzy the cat, in Sturbridge, MA. Since purchasing these publications, Maxine has added a new publication to Weathervane Enterprises, Inc., The Guides to Brimfield. This guide provides a list of everything you need to know about Brimfield and is distributed freely to businesses around town. It is also sent out to 15,000 people nationwide within The Journal of Antiques & Collectibles.
Since purchasing the business, she has changed Your Hometown Shopper to be a full-color book – just like her love of print media– to make it more of an artistic piece of work.
What’s next for Maxine and Weathervane Enterprises, Inc?
My take is that Maxine definitely will be putting her strategic expertise to use to grow her publications and foster community for the greater Sturbridge area.
We are fortunate that she has taken over this publication and has vision, entrepreneurial skill, and the desire to grow it beyond its present roots
In the Berkshires, she had the pleasure of having their Shopper’s Guide as a client and was able help use it to create and personify that community.
With 10 years in the mailbox for the Your Hometown Shopper(Sturbridge) for our community, Maxine will continue her efforts to help local businesses become known and foster the concept of keeping it local!
Leaving Maxine (and Izzy) that day, I had one lingering question for myself: Why hadn’t I put an advertisement in the Your Hometown Shopper yet?
It is such an affordable no-brainer for anyone in business in our geographic area. I am happy to say, I have jumped on board and expect to have my first ad in the March 2016 edition of the Your Hometown Shopper.
Thank you, Maxine, for allowing me to interview you and providing us with a glimpse into your history and experience and what you bring to our community. I wish you great success in the greater Sturbridge area.
Links to Weathervane Enterprises, Inc Publications follow:
Over the next series of my articles, I will feature an entrepreneur’s story. Stay tuned for the next series by signing up for my mailing list.