Less than a week before Christmas, local lifestyle magazine Hilton Head Monthly laid off its staff via email and announced it was going out of business.
The email from the magazine’s owners caught the staff by surprise, said Meredith DiMuzio, who was co-publisher with Sasha Sweeney.
“We were preparing last week to send our January issue to the printer,” DiMuzio said Saturday morning. “We had the entire book ready to go.”
DiMuzio worked for the publication for seven years and said the announcement right at the holiday “stings a lot.”
“We were blindsided,” she said.
Hilton Head Monthly had six employees plus a slate of freelancers. The magazine, which also printed an edition with a Bluffton cover, was in its 37th year of business.
The magazine’s website said it had a circulation of approximately 30,500 with a total audience of 130,000 though the printed magazine, digital edition, website, social media and newsletters. The magazine was placed in rooms at several Hilton Head resorts, and its racks were in more than 75 locations in Bluffton and Hilton Head.
Texts and emails to owners Anuska and Marc Frey were not immediately returned on Saturday.
In November 2020, Marc Frey’s Trio Publishing LLC was ordered to pay nearly $400,000 after the Pennsylvania-based company that printed its magazines sued for non-payment, according to court documents.
He told The Island Packet at the time that Trio Publishing and Hilton Head Monthly were separate entities, and that the publication of the magazine wouldn’t be affected by the lawsuit.
The December issue of Hilton Head Monthly featured the winners of its popular annual Reader’s Choice Awards competition. It also included features about an annual Christmas village display at Shelter Cove Towne Centre and reminisces about the first years of Sea Pines.
Page 144 of the glossy 174-page edition included an advertisement stating Hilton Head Monthly had been “discovering, reporting and illustrating the vibe, people, trends and local stories since 1985. Our roots are deep, our coverage wide and we connect the community like no other publication.”