Santa Fe-based Bella Media LLC and its flagship publication, the Santa Fean, remain in flux following layoffs last week, and it’s unclear when the next edition of the nearly half-century-old, bimonthly magazine might be published.

Associate publisher and sales manager David Wilkinson said nearly all employees of Bella Media’s multiple magazines were given layoff notices the day before Thanksgiving. Wilkinson did not know his own status at Bella Media, he added, because he had just returned Friday from a trip to Italy.

Publications of future editions have been put on hold, he said.

Bella Media President and Santa Fean publisher Bruce Adams declined to give details on the company’s future.

“We’re going through a transition,” Adams said. “I don’t want to say any more that.”

Tierra Concepts Inc., which owns the office space Bella Media has been leasing at the Pacheco Park business complex on Pacheco Street, is searching for a new tenant, according to marketing director Saguna Severson.

“It’s all very premature,” said Severson said. “Bella Media tells us, ‘If you find someone for that space, we were thinking of going to a virtual office space.’ ”

Bella Media was established as a limited liability corporation in 2011 with Adams as the registered agent. Back issues of the Santa Fean — an arts, culture and lifestyle magazine that has showcased the city for 47 years — are available online back to 2009, about the time Adams took ownership of it.

According to a business profile on the online database Buzzfile, Bella Media has generated more than $700,000 a year in revenues and employed about seven people.

The company also publishes the Santa Fe Official Visitors Guide; three regional editions of SuCasa magazine — for Northern New Mexico, El Paso and southwestern New Mexico, and Phoenix/Scottsdale; Native Arts magazine; Santa Fean Now; Haciendas magazine; Canyon Road magazine; Santa Fean’s Downtown magazine; the Home Building and Remodeling Guide; O’Keeffe magazine; and Tracks magazine.

The future of those publications also is uncertain.

Chef John Vollertson, commonly known as Johnny Vee, who has been the food and dining editor at the Santa Fean on a freelance basis, said he was unaware of the employee layoffs at Bella Media.

But he did receive notice that publication of the next edition had been stalled.

“This week we were going to talk about what the next issue is about,” Vollertson said. “I got a note last Friday to hold off on what the next issue is about. This would be the February-March issue.”

Wilkinson, who also has worked for Bella Media on a freelance basis, said, “Right now, there are no magazines planned for 2020. I’m sending emails to my [advertising] clients that I have nothing to sell for next year.”

Wilkinson also said he has filed a wage theft complaint against Bella Media with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, claiming he has received only partial payments from the company for the past three years.

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(4) comments

Kelly Sanders

Personally I think the magazine was best when Ashley Morrison (I think that was her name) was the editor. Great stories, great writing and there was always a balance of community information as well as art and culture. She seemed to have the pulse of the city. Haven't really been as interested since all the changes after that. But that was a while back.

Bruce Adams

Let me be very clear despite the assumptions, The Deeember/January issue of the Santa Fean is currently being distributed and the intent is to continue to publish in 2020. David Wilkinson's accusations are inaccurate and surprising. Commissions are current. The magazine is going through a transition, but it will continue with the dedicated and talented staff. We will be healthy and strong.

Rachel Kiernan

This is wonderful news. I hope I can keep seeing the Santa Fean doing well. I wish you and your staff the absolute best.

-- Rachel

dennis feeley

My wife and I were subscribers for years. We loved the local stories about art and culture as well as history of Santa Fe. Then, few years ago the magazine changed it format. It primary focus became marketing and most of the great writing and stories vanished. We stopped subscribing, but oddly enough, we still get the issues which we do not read because of the excessive marketing.

It’s a real shame as we both lament the passing of such a great publication, but will not miss it present incarnation. We certainly wish the best for all its employees.


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