Bedford Living Magazine

Capturing the essence of Bedford County

In the spring of 2019, Sherri Growden embarked on a journey that would ultimately lead her back to the heart of southwestern Pennsylvania’s Bedford County. Accepting a new role at the Emporia Gazette in Kansas, an esteemed Pulitzer Prize-winning publication, Growden found herself immersed in the world of journalism. Her connection to magazines blossomed during this time, laying the groundwork for a transformative endeavor yet to come.

The call that changed everything came swiftly – news of impending grandmotherhood beckoned Growden back to her roots.

Recognizing her indispensable role in Bedford County, she was thrilled to see her previous position at the Bedford Gazette reinstated that same year under the guidance of Publisher Joseph A. Beegle. It was here that Growden’s vision for a groundbreaking initiative began to take shape, aligning perfectly with the county’s imminent 250th anniversary celebration in 2020.

Thus, Bedford Living Magazine was conceived, a testament to Growden’s unwavering commitment to community storytelling and celebration. A vibrant combination of local perspectives and rich narratives, the magazine will soon mark its fourth annual edition.

Available free of charge to Gazette subscribers in both physical and digital realms, Bedford Living Magazine serves as a trusted staple in approximately 10,000 Bedford County households. Boasting half a million online impressions monthly, its reach extends far beyond physical borders, resonating with readers near and far.

“At the core of our publication are the voices of Bedford County,” said Growden. Writers, photographers and designers converge from diverse corners of the county, infusing each article with a poignant freshness that mirrors the vibrancy of county life.

Fuelled by the resounding success of its inaugural edition, Growden embarked on a journey to refine and enhance the magazine’s annual cadence. Strategically released in July and August of successive years, the magazine’s ascent reached new heights in 2023 with the exclusive feature of esteemed author Dean Koontz, a proud native of Bedford County. This interview, planned a year in advance, underscores the meticulous planning and foresight that defines Bedford Living Magazine’s editorial process.

With the forthcoming 2024 edition poised to illuminate yet another historic milestone – the 150th anniversary of the Bedford County Fair – Growden’s visionary leadership shines through. Embracing an expanded volume brimming with fresh content sections, the magazine promises an immersive journey through the county’s storied heritage. Tentative content includes:

  • Around the County – Saxton, The Cove, Everett, Bedford, and Shawnee will all have their own spreads.
  • History – A look at the tunnels below downtown Bedford and updates at Peppercorn.
  • Let’s Talk People – Following up with Gazette TEEN and STEAM Students of the Year, Chamber Young Entrepreneurs, as well as local artists, volunteers, and interesting personalities.
  • Features – Larger format articles covering special topics close to County hearts
    • The Great Bedford County Fair’s 150th Anniversary
    • The Dogs of Bedford’s January Rescue: Where are they now?
    • Whiskey & Beer: The County’s Past & Future
    • Fancy Nancy: An Organ Donation Tale

Navigating the intricate web of feature stories and evolving journalistic talent, Growden adopts a collaborative approach. “I let the writers write the story,” said Sherri. “If I say, ‘this is the article that I want,’ I’m really limiting what they are able to do. I assemble a team of good players and let them do their work.”

As the publication deadline grows ever near, Growden remains steadfast in her conviction that each edition surpasses its predecessor. Year after year, the editorial team reviews reader feedback that ensures Bedford Living Magazine remains a beacon of innovation and relevance in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

While the digital realm asserts its dominance in the wake of the pandemic, Bedford County’s steadfast affinity for print endures. “Our most loyal readers enjoy the tactile experience of the printed page,” said Growden. “We are proud to offer both print and digital editions to cater to diverse preferences.”

Beyond its role as a source of information and inspiration, Bedford Living Magazine also advocates for environmental protection and encourages the recycling of its pages for various household endeavors. From safeguarding fragile items during a move to igniting creativity in DIY projects, the magazine’s legacy extends far beyond its publication date.

With each edition, Bedford Living Magazine reaffirms its status as more than a publication – it’s a testament to community resilience, creativity, and the enduring spirit of Bedford County.