Publisher \\ Soothsayer of Business on the Cape and South Shore
At the beginning of 2004, Bob Viamari, publisher of Cape and Plymouth Business, was sitting at the kitchen table of his summer home in Dennis. Viamari, a former senior officer at Merrill Lynch in Springfield, Massachusetts at the time, was working on a side project for some friends who also had a connection to the Cape. And then, the light bulb went off, “We decided to create a business magazine,” he recalls. “I didn’t have any experience. I took one marketing class in college, but I thought, ‘It’s a business, that’s something I know.’”
When pressed as to why a business magazine? Why on the Cape? Viamari shares some insight that led him to the decision to create one of the most influential media outlets in this area. “I had a couple of beliefs that kind of drove me,” he says. “Because I was a second homeowner on the Cape, I saw things that people who were living here year-round might not see.” Viamari, always a numbers guy, says that when he decided to buy a home in Dennis, his research revealed that 55% of the people in Dennis did not live there year-round. “I could not understand why a business in Dennis would not market to me at my home in Longmeadow. Things like sending me restaurant information to consider when I’m in Dennis. I saw the Cape business market as needing a little help. I couldn’t understand why. Then, when I started working with businesses down here, I did understand—they are all small business owners, focused on running their business, with little time for anything else,” he explains.
“I don’t think it was just the businesses on the Cape. I saw the same thing was happening in Plymouth, and on the South Shore,” explains Viamari, whose magazine expanded to the Plymouth and South Shore market after just a few years. “It is really just a small business problem, not understanding who your customers are and how to reach them.” Those two hurdles of small businesses became the tenets of the expertise shared by Cape and Plymouth Business through their monthly magazine and via a long list of creative and intriguing business-focused events for the past fifteen years.
“I said, ‘okay, let’s do a business magazine. Let’s try to educate, create a business magazine, and try to bring the business community together’,” Viamari explains. Through the years, Cape and Plymouth Business has highlighted and profiled business owners, some well known and some that had lived in obscurity until Viamari’s team shone the spotlight on them. “I always believed the best teachers of other businesses were other businesses,” Viamari says.
“I also believed that life is all about stories,” he continues. “And every business has a story. It doesn’t matter who you are, you have a story, and some of these stories are really interesting. How did you start your business? How did you build? What were the challenges?”
His beliefs and visions resonated throughout the business community from the start (just like he believed they would). At his launch party in 2004, Dorothy Savarese, the president of Cape Cod Five, confirmed his instincts were correct when she said, “I want to congratulate you. This is exactly what the Cape needs; the business community needs something to bring it together.”
Viamari’s instinct to spread the gospel of business over the bridge to Plymouth and beyond was also spot-on. Today, companies like Nauset Disposal, Cazeault Roofing, Stewart Painting, and Hutker Architects are expanding their businesses to have a presence in those South Shore communities. He explains, “Businesses are starting to take a look at the fact that it is a regional economy; that is how they can expand their business. I remember the cover of the first magazine we did that covered both communities—the cover said, ‘What Bridge?’ Now, with technology, the barriers are even less defined.”
In addition to his beliefs, Viamari also possesses a few opinions. “This is just my opinion, but I call Cape Cod, The Island of Etsy,” he says referring to the popular online portal of crafters. “But I think it needs to become The Island of Entrepreneurs.” He says a shift in focus and support for young entrepreneurs could cement the future for the region and also pave the way for a new century of branding and identity for the Cape by creating a brand new stream of visitors, businesses and residents alike.
Whether they are beliefs, opinions or epiphanies, Bob Viamari can more than likely be found at his kitchen table, thinking of the next thing.
Learn more about the magazine and Bob Viamari’s other ventures here!
For more visionaries, click here!