THE HEART OF LAKE WEDOWEE LIFE
The idea of a lifestyle magazine for Lake Wedowee was a vision of Leisel Caldwell’s for many years. As a real estate agent, she saw the need, but she had no clue as to how to make it happen by herself. “God has a way of making things happen,” she said. “In 2005, I was experiencing one of my best years in real estate, but I needed help. I was basically a one-woman show and it wasn’t until my grandson Luke’s birthday celebration that the answer appeared.”
In 2005, Kelly was the news editor of a daily newspaper in central Alabama, but wasn’t happy in her position and was quickly becoming a person she didn’t like very much. “Daily newspapers are tough,” she said. “I had very little life outside of newspapers and I just remember crying at my nephew’s birthday party and my mama offered me a lifeline.”
The following Monday, Kelly turned in her notice and five short weeks later returned to Randolph County , something she never thought would happen. “I knew I needed a new direction and path in life and mama needed someone she could trust. I told her I would give her two years before moving on,” Kelly said.
Well, what Kelly didn’t know was that God and her mama had other plans… Leisel wanted a lifestyle magazine for Lake Wedowee and she knew her daughter was another piece of the puzzle in making it happen. “Kelly didn’t believe we could do it at first,” Leisel remembers. “And, she is a little stubborn so it took some convincing.”
Two years after joining the real estate company and countless conversations about the need for a lifestyle magazine on Lake Wedowee, things took a turn when a rumor lit a fire under the Caldwells.
"We heard that another magazine was in the works for the area in the fall of 2007," Kelly said. "We were working with a magazine publishing partner at the time and that kicked us into gear. "Everything fell into place but looking back, the only way I can explain it, is that God wanted the Caldwells to create Lake Wedowee Life."
In November of 2007, the Caldwells bit the bullet and Lake Wedowee Life became more than Leisel's vision.
"We made this a true family business and my dad came on board to sell ads," Kelly said. Lavoy went around to local businesses with copies of magazines from another lake. "These businesses took a chance on us and what can I say, daddy is a heck of a salesman," Kelly said. "I met with several people and they believed in what we wanted to do." More than 30 businesses advertised in the first issue of Lake Wedowee Life, which was only 36 pages.
"It's very humbling to know all these people believed in us as much as they did," Kelly said. "We have never shied away from hard work or a challenge and publishing that first issue was both! "We created everything from scratch... We didn't have the resources we do now as far as stories and pictures. I swear that first year my nephew Luke was in every issue... He was our Lake Wedowee Life mascot."
In these short 10 years, Lake Wedowee Life has become a staple of the community, bridging the gap between visitors and residents and the Caldwells, who knew nothing about publishing, continue to learn every day while juggling two different magazines and a retail store. "I guess I still love to work a little too much," Kelly said. "This is our passion which makes it feel a lot less like work... That is until deadline... Then it's all work!"