20 Years and Counting

Ballantyne Magazine celebrates its first two decades

By Nan Bauroth

Twenty years ago, our magazine debuted as a 40-page, staple-bound quarterly magazine. The Bissell Companies created it to share the upscale lifestyle and amenities of Ballantyne, both in and outside the office park.

For the next 10 years, Ballantyne Magazine — then called The Magazine of Ballantyne and the South Perimeter — served as a primary promotional vehicle for rapidly growing Ballantyne Corporate Park, as well as the retail and residential developments springing up around it.

During that period, editor/publisher Scott Martin maintained a focus on business articles. We highlighted the arrival of new park tenants. We addressed topics such as housing, education, medical facilities and transportation infrastructure that were relevant to companies considering moving their offices or headquarters to Ballantyne.

In 2010 as Ballantyne began to mature, JJ Bissell assumed the publishing helm with the goal of taking the magazine to the next level as a lifestyle publication. Renaming it Ballantyne Magazine, Bissell wanted to broaden the content to reflect not only business aspects of the community but interests of an increasingly diverse population here. As a commercial and advertising photographer, Bissell brought a sophisticated eye to the visual content through striking cover photography and feature stories spotlighting local food, fashion, schools, homes and gardens, charitable events and the growing social scene.

A Place on the Map

“When I became publisher, it was a very exciting time for Ballantyne and the magazine, so ratcheting it up to a lifestyle publication was a huge milestone,” Bissell recalls. “Ballantyne was now a place on the map — local TV stations were mentioning Ballantyne on the news and weather reports, and 28277 was becoming one of the most searched ZIP codes for homes. My directive was to focus the magazine not just on Ballantyne as a great place for business but to live, play, stay. I owe many thanks to my father, Smoky Bissell, and other visionaries who gave me the opportunity to turn it into an award-winning lifestyle magazine.”

During her tenure, editor Regina Robertson positioned our publication for expansion into new areas. She also added contributors to the team, many of whom are still with the publication today.

Originally called The Magazine of Ballantyne and the South Perimeter, Ballantyne Magazine started as a 40-page staple-bound publication.

Looking Back

As Ballantyne Magazine has turned a page into 2020, editor Jodi Greenwald leads yet another evolution, this time aimed at addressing the needs of a digital and social media-savvy readership. “Our readers access our content now on smartphones and laptops, not just in hard copy,” Greenwald says. “Keeping that in mind — how we tell stories and capture community is ever-changing. We have redesigned our website to make it more dynamic, and we connect with readers through our social media channels.”

Although the magazine has evolved over the years, our primary mission from the first issue has been to enhance and sustain the vibrant community we represent. As we enter our third decade, we look back at some of the articles that have defined our character as a publication. We also share some of the most intriguing and entertaining stories.

Business

Through the years, Ballantyne Magazine has featured many tenants in the park, profiling the leaders and organizations of new arrivals as well as those companies that continue to grow their presence here.

The cover story in the summer of 2010 showcased MetLife moving its U.S. retail business headquarters to Ballantyne. The edition was so popular we almost had to run a second printing to cover demand. In “Health Care in Her Blood” in the summer of 2011, we presented a portrait of Susan DeVore, CEO of Premier, which moved its headquarters to Ballantyne the previous year.

“Fintech Force” in the fall of 2017 gave an inside look at San Francisco-based Credit Karma. The company had recently established in Ballantyne Credit Karma Tax, its free, do-it-yourself tax preparation service. Notably, Credit Karma outfitted its office space with a Star Wars theme and has since more than doubled its footprint here.

We also have consistently covered local events of the Charlotte Chamber (now the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance). In addition, the Biz Buzz and Career Close-Up sections of the Wire news section carry items about new Ballantyne companies, products, awards and career moves. (Readers are encouraged to visit ballantynemagazine.com and submit news items and events that have a Ballantyne connection.)

Hospitality

Ballantyne’s signature hotels have been featured both in cover stories and as the backdrop for fashion shoots.

The Ballantyne Hotel — now known as The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte — set the standard in luxe hospitality when it opened in September 2001. Its impact reached beyond the burgeoning mixed-use development centered near Johnston Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway to the whole Charlotte region. The subhead on the cover story announcing its debut trumpeted, “The Premier Resort Destination of the Carolinas.” The article included early photographs and descriptive details about the lavish new accommodation that would soon become a landmark for the community at large.

As the demands of tech-driven business travelers grew, Ballantyne added Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne. We featured Aloft in the cover story for Spring 2010, showing off the hotel’s youthful vibe, electronic access and vibrant social scene. Both hotels have also served as a significant distribution channel for Ballantyne Magazine over the years, along with Courtyard Charlotte Ballantyne and Staybridge Suites Charlotte Ballantyne.

Education

Highlighting the achievements of Ballantyne students has long been one of our priorities, as well as parental involvement in education.

Through the decades we’ve written stories about the tutoring scene in “Learning Boost,” foreign exchange students in “Cross-Cultural Connections” and how three local high schools have amped up their STEM programs in “Bright Stuff.”

“Savvy Strategies” presented college-saving ideas from two families, and “Kickstarting Education” focused on prekindergarten programs at Endhaven Elementary and the British International School of Charlotte.

With input from local principals and headmasters, we also featured exceptional graduating seniors from Ardrey Kell, Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Latin, Providence and South Mecklenburg high schools in “Bright Stars.”

Charity

Ballantyne residents have always been committed to giving back. We cover these many endeavors in the Sweet Charity section of Wire and in our Social Seen photos.

One cover story we ran in 2010 that had a tremendous impact on the community was “Pink Power.” In it, we explored Ballantyne Country Club’s Rally for the Cure and its pink bow campaign. As soon as the issue hit the stands, pink bows began appearing on local neighborhood boxes everywhere, helping raise breast cancer awareness and money for Susan G. Komen Charlotte. Pink bow sales have since become a Komen Charlotte campaign.

Ballantyne Ball, another philanthropic effort started here in Ballantyne six years ago to support area charities, is featured in this issue’s Social Seen photos.

Fast Forward

Northwood Office’s Ballantyne Reimagined master plan promises to lead to a multitude of new feature articles and news stories for us to share in the coming years. Ballantyne Magazine is dedicated to remaining the definitive source of information about these exciting changes and the leading media platform for all things Ballantyne.

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