Thank Yous And Thoughts Of The Future
If I’m counting correctly—and you know I like fun with numbers—this is the 229th issue of Foodservice Equipment Reports. It’s Vol. 19, No. 12, as recorded on the cover. We also published an inaugural issue in October 1996 to show everyone what FER would be. We still do something no one else in this market dares: compare foodservice equipment and supplies products and name names. We name names in our Design articles. We give our readers—the largest and most sophisticated buyers and specifiers of E&S in the world—“as much information to help differentiate between brands as our advertisers will let us get away with,” as our Founding Editor Emeritus Brian Ward once put it.
So in this issue, we kick off our 20th anniversary year. Our Editor-in-Chief Beth Lorenzini, who joined Gill Ashton Publishing in 1998, tells a bit of our story in a special anniversary section of this issue. We share the occasion with several of our good customers, who also are celebrating anniversaries this year and next. It’s always fun and instructional to share origin stories.
This issue also is momentous in another way. We announce that we’re in final negotiations to change ownership of Gill Ashton Publishing, our parent company. The Gill family, who funded our launch 20 years ago and has been a steadfast financial partner through two “interesting” decades in the media business, and we minority partners are selling the company to WAI LLC, a family-owned investment company headed by Bob Wolters. Many of you know Bob as the founder and former CEO of CookTek, now part of The Middleby Corp.
So I and our entire merry band of FERsters are moving from one family that is heavily involved and invested in the foodservice equipment and supplies business to another family, also heavily involved and invested in the foodservice equipment and supplies business. It’s exciting.
WAI approached us for several reasons, not least that they own two unique software platforms: Ignitor Labs, which produces training content for equipment servicers and restaurants chains, and Specifi, a foodservice facilities design, data and quotation tool formerly known as MasterChef. We all see interesting synergies between these products and FER’s unique product-oriented comparative content. It won’t hurt Gill Ashton—we plan on still calling the media company Gill Ashton—to be partnered with software experts during a time when content delivery is moving online. Not that we don’t still believe in print products.
So, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we thank the Gill family for two decades of unwavering support and encouragement. We thank you, our faithful readers, for continuing to find what we do valuable, and we look forward to working with and continuing to create with our new partners at WAI. Believe me, we haven’t run out of ideas.
Have a wonderful holiday and a healthy, happy and wildly successful 2016.