Sandpoint Living Local celebrates 10 years
By Jillian Chandler
Photo by Kiersten Patterson Photography
For those who live here in Sandpoint, we know how truly special this place is that we all have chosen to call home. The Sandpoint community is filled with kind, generous, giving people, who care deeply for this place and the quality of our lifestyle.
It was 10 years ago that a new publication would be released, sharing positive stories highlighting all that’s wonderful in this mountain city on the lake, along with the incredible local businesses that help in sustaining this small—yet thriving—North Idaho town. With a hyper-local focus and original content based on uplifting and highlighting the best parts of our charming town, Sandpoint Living Local, from day one, has been about the people and delivering the most beautiful magazine, designed to serve the locals and visitors by providing valuable and resourceful information.
Like Media is the media agency behind not only Sandpoint Living Local but five additional monthly print publications across the Northwest—Coeur d’Alene Living Local, Bonners Ferry Living Local, Gig Harbor Living Local, 253 Lifestyle Magazine and Go Sandpoint Magazine. In addition, they produce a biannual publication, REAL Northwest Living, which is distributed in areas from Spokane, Washington, to the Canadian border and Western Montana; and they published the annual Gig Harbor Visitors Guide.
And it is not only in print that the media company is showcasing their talent, work and support of local businesses and communities. “Like Media has created so much more than just a community magazine,” says Allyia Briggs, Like Media’s director of marketing. Like Media is a full-service agency that helps companies build and execute their marketing plans. Its motto: We build your marketing, so you can build your business.
“It is an entire (print + digital) platform. From our website to weekly and monthly e-newsletters, social media and more, we make sure that our positive hyper-local articles and advertisers are being seen everywhere—which is really unique to this area.”
With a mission to impact the communities it serves in a positive way, owner and publisher Steve Russo is committed to what the company was founded on, especially in today’s world.
“It's unfortunate that mainstream media has turned into what it has. It is on a mission to divide us based on political and religious beliefs, but the reality is, we are all very much the same,” he says. “Most of our beliefs, core qualities, humanity and desire to help others is what makes us all so similar. I feel we all need to get back to identifying as people, community members, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, and not red or blue, pro or against.
“We need to get back to uniting around our commonalities rather than dividing up over our few differences. Fear is winning out nationally, but if you look around locally, it is hope that drives us each day because together we are strong and powerful; apart we become isolated and weak. In today's climate, we all need to proclaim that fear will never win out as hope pushes us to be better versions of ourselves.”
Like Media carries out its mission in a number of ways: telling the good news stories that don't always make the news and spotlighting the people who do wonderful things within our communities; highlighting and sponsoring local events; supporting small-medium local businesses by providing them an affordable platform to share their messaging; and most importantly providing free marketing sponsorships for local nonprofit organizations.
Each and every month, Like Media sponsors area nonprofits, organizations, groups and community members in each publication to help ensure they are able to carry out their mission.
“Through these sponsorships, we are able to give our nonprofit organizations a voice to create awareness for their own missions and any needs that they may have,” says Allyia. “It is truly the most special feeling in the world to experience the level of appreciation and awe that these organizations feel when we reach out and let them know that we are doing a free marketing sponsorship for them. This includes articles, advertising, social media promotions and much more. It is this kind of work that brings us so much pride at Like Media.”
Since its inception, Like Media has been committed to connecting local businesses with the people they serve, with the goal of impacting communities in a positive way. The Northwest’s trusted media partner, Like Media is dedicated to taking companies where they want to go through effective and thoughtful strategies that combine traditional media with new technologies.
As a full-service media company, many of Like Media’s print advertisers also leverage the company to handle all of their digital marketing as well through Rocket Fish Digital; everything from building their logos and websites, to SEO services, reputation management, social media, podcasts and more. “We take time to brainstorm with our clients and come up with a variety of solutions to meet their business’ needs,” affirms Allyia. “We have the best partners in the world!”
A local, family owned business, Like Media is dedicated to the communities it serves, which begins in-house with its powerful and talented team. In the marketing and media world, Like Media shines and sets itself apart in many ways. One of these is the people who make up the agency’s workforce. More than 80 percent of the company’s workforce is female—there are just three men on the Like Media team.
Many of the employees have families and young children, which is why it has been important to Steve that, from Like Media’s inception, they utilize a virtual platform for all employees, allowing staff the capability to be able to work remotely from home as/when needed, as well as flexibility with their schedules. After all, he and his wife and business partner Kim were raising three young children of their own while expanding their company and brand, understanding and valuing the support—and flexibility—that working mothers (and fathers) with young children need.
When COVID-19 hit early last year, Like Media was already versed in how to run a business remotely, so fortunately, there wasn’t much transition, if any at all, that needed to be made. It’s truly been a blessing for all staff to continue to do what they love while having job security and safety during these unprecedented times. Since the pandemic began over one year ago, no one has been laid off due to the health crisis. In fact, the company grew substantially! “We hired new employees during the shutdown," says Allyia, “due to the demand of business owners wanting to ensure their strong online presence, including website updates and e-commerce functionality, plus being found in search."
Like Media and its team have remained powerful and optimistic during the bleak times, overcoming obstacles it has faced, continuing to move forward while emitting positivity. And it’s the communities they serve that inspire them each day.
Denise Ripatti is the most recent addition to Like Media, joining the team in February 2021 as Sandpoint's new marketing executive, and she looks forward to the opportunity of building relationships with local businesses and the community as a whole.
"I'm excited to get out and meet all the business owners; fulfilling their need to grow their business is a huge role,” she shares. “I love seeing people succeed and being a part of that success! I will go above and beyond for my clients, putting in the hard work every day to make sure their marketing expectations are met.”
With 29 years in print and over eight years in the digital marketing sphere, Like Media successfully provides a platform and voice for local companies to reach their target audiences in the most effective way, while saving time and money, and building successful businesses that strengthen communities.
“We are building a unique platform that serves dual purposes, which allows small to medium businesses to effectively build their marketing and brands locally while supporting local philanthropic groups and organizations. There is nothing quite like this in the communities we serve,” Steve says. “What our advertisers should know is that we are actually partners in promoting the goodwill not only locally but in every town we serve. The support they give locally goes well beyond our city boundaries by helping many in need.”
“Our community is so blessed to be filled with such incredible business owners who have a passion for serving their community,” shares Allyia. “We are honored to be a partner and a resource for them to be able to share their passion with the community. Business owners start their businesses because it is what they love, so we never take the trust that they put in us to help them grow their business for granted.”
Like Media does not wait to see what the competition is doing; instead, the company tries to remain at the forefront of the industry. “We’re constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to stay ahead, leveraging some of the best technology out there,” affirms Allyia.
The team at Like Media looks forward to another year serving their clients, strengthening partnerships and inspiring the community through Sandpoint Living Local and various print and digital services that they offer.