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Cabin Life magazine sold, will stay in Duluth

Duluth's Cabin Life magazine was sold last week to a Wisconsin publishing company that puts out Model Railroader and Trains. But the title geared toward cabin enthusiasts won't be headed down the tracks to the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, home o...

Duluth's Cabin Life magazine was sold last week to a Wisconsin publishing company that puts out Model Railroader and Trains. But the title geared toward cabin enthusiasts won't be headed down the tracks to the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, home of new owner Kalmbach Publishing Co.

"Our employees in Duluth will stay in Duluth," Chuck Croft, Kalmbach's senior vice president, said of the 11-person staff. "We will keep the Cabin Life group together."

Toni Fladmark, Cabin Life's founder and publisher, who will stay on in that role, said keeping the magazine in Duluth was important to her.

"It has taken a lot of years to build the great staff we have here, and we work well together as a team," she said.

Cabin Life, which Fladmark said reaches a steady audience of about 400,000 despite the economic downturn, becomes Kalmbach's 16th title. Others include Fine Scale Modeler, Scale Auto, BeadStyle, Bead&Button and Astronomy, as well as Model Railroader and Trains.

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"Up until now, we didn't publish in that category, and we see this as an opportunity to grow and diversify into a new market," Croft said, noting that he values the magazine's strong editorial content and the relationships staff members have built with readers and advertisers.

"We're a publisher of magazines for enthusiasts and niche readers," he continued. "Cabin Life is a great fit for us, because of the passion and enthusiasm people have for their cabin properties."

Kalmbach Publishing is privately held with more than $50 million in annual sales. The company employs 275 people in Waukesha.

Fladmark said Kalmbach had expressed interest in buying Cabin Life for several years, but discussions became serious last July.

"There's a point in every business where you either have to invest a lot more to move to the next level or find a partner who can help you forward," Fladmark said.

Launched by Fladmark Publishing April 2001 and recently its only title, Cabin Life is published eight times per year.

Peter Passi covers city government for the Duluth News Tribune. He joined the paper in April 2000, initially as a business reporter but has worked a number of beats through the years.
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