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Happy Birthday, Suburban Scene Magazine!

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday Suburban Scene…   

Happy Birthday, Suburban SceneCrofton, Gambrills and Odenton are delighted to celebrate this occasion with you, Laura!  Suburban Scene Magazine has come into homes and businesses throughout our communities for a year now to tell us about people, businesses, organizations, and events in the area.  As a reader, I have found it a wonderful resource that is both interesting and entertaining.  Speaking as an advertiser, I am grateful for the opportunity to communicate directly with the very people I serve in my real estate business – and I thank you for that. 

Several years ago, I had the privilege of helping Suburban Scene’s creator, Laura Tayman, buy her first Crofton home.  At the time, Laura was working at the Clinton White House and her husband Mike was a music teacher in Prince George’s County public schools.  I talked to Laura last week at the Suburban Scene birthday party and took advantage of the chance to catch up on what’s happening in her world. 

That’s when I decided to turn the tables on Laura and interview her for the first in a monthly series of “Getting to Know You” posts about our neighbors in the Crofton area.  Drum roll, please… 

Laura Tayman1.  How long have you lived in the Crofton area, and what attracted you to this community initially?

I was first introduced to the Crofton area about 15 years ago when my husband and I lived in Bowie our first year of marriage. I started going to the Community United Methodist Church and loved to drive through the streets of town on my way there and back. When I went through the Parkway, I thought that this was a place like I had dreamed of to bring up children.

2.  Why have you chosen to stay in Crofton?

Right after we moved here we had our first child, and, because I moved around a lot when I was growing up, I wanted to provide some stability to my child and have them grow up in the same community, especially in such a child-friendly one.

3.  Tell us a little about your family – What you do, your husband, your kids… 

Though I work many long hours for the magazine, my first real job is mom. I have two children, Anna who is almost 13 as she likes to point out, and Joey who is 9. My primary responsibility is getting them to school and to music lessons, sports, and other commitments. My husband Mike is the band and orchestra director at Severn River Middle School in Arnold. I am very proud of his accomplishments there.  

4.  You are celebrating the first anniversary of Suburban Scene – what inspired or motivated you to start this business?  Would you like to share any lessons learned or statistics, like how many issues you mail out monthly, how many employees you have, how many advertisers, etc.

Suburban Scene grew out of my frustration of knowing there were so many wonderful things going on in the community and not having a good way to share that with local residents the way I would like. (I commend you, Margaret, on being a new resource to do the very same thing!) I covered the community and its schools for the local paper for a number of years, and having editors who didn’t live here telling me what was important to my neighbors was frustrating to say the least.

I have to admit when I jumped in with both feet, I had no real idea of how much work it would be to pull this off – from advertising and design to managing content. But I believe we survived that first year because I always had a great team, mostly at-home moms, who believed in the product and did the work equivalent to five jobs to make it happen.

We currently mail to all homes and businesses in Crofton and Gambrills; to all businesses in Odenton; and about half the homes in Odenton (approximately 22,000). We are about to start mailing to all homes in Odenton starting in February (up to 30,000). We don’t have an office – we are able to do all of it through technology. In fact, we have a new printer that allows us to proof online as well. I don’t think I could have done this magazine without the emerging technology.

The folks who help me put this together, besides my awesome and loyal local advertisers, are my advertising team, my business manager, my webmaster, and great local writers and photographers. I also have an attorney, an accountant, and a technology business, all local, that have helped us with other kinds of things.

I also have a business advisory board, made up of very supportive advertisers in a variety of fields and the two directors of the local chambers of commerce, who meet with me and my team and guide us in a positive business direction.

5.  What advice would you give prospective business owners who may be considering a new venture in the greater Crofton area, including Odenton and Gambrills?

Aside from really doing their homework about the need for the business, I would say that getting involved in the community is a must. Visibility is critical. I do know that word-of-mouth in this close-knit locale will make or break a business. We try to help with that in the magazine with our articles that provide residents a way to get to know business owners. It is a booming area, and you have to really make a name for yourself – stand out from the crowd – to compete.

Thank you, Laura.  Here’s to another successful year for Suburban Scene and continued good health and happiness for you and your family!


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