It all began about 20 years ago when our popular interactive website was developed by Robin Johnson-Bethke and her husband, Peter, who serves as our Technical Director. Robin and Peter met in Los Angeles where they were both working in media and doing creative projects for prestigious companies such as Walt Disney. They relocated to Charlottesville to be near Robin’s extended family in the Shenandoah Valley and to start their own family. As they awaited the birth of their son, they realized there was no easy way to find out about all the wonderful resources for families with children… and out of this need arose AlbemarleKids.com.
Robin and I, Jen Bryerton, met shortly after the website launched. I was a new mom and new to town, having relocated for my husband’s job. I was looking for some flexible career path to become engaged in the community. Having been a teacher and owner of a tutoring business, I was familiar with the local parenting publication in my previous hometown and eager to see Charlottesville enjoy such a resource, too. Robin had plans of expansion, and when the two of us got together, everything clicked. We started out on a long lunch at The Tavern, and to this day, many ideas continue to be generated over the midday meal!
Along with the addition of myself as Co-Publisher in 2000, we debuted our companion print publications, CharlottesvilleFamily Living Magazine and the CharlottesvilleFamily Directory. Now, many babies later, our own children span the years from 7 to 18, and we have many new publications, too. And, we’re still loving every minute of our work! We truly enjoy coming up with great ideas for readers, for our advertisers and ways to serve our Charlottesville community, which we are so proud to call home. In 2005, we went to monthly editions from quarterly, and in 2008, we began a supplemental piece, AlbemarleFamily’s Let’s Go Guide. In 2009, Ivy Publications saw the addition of our state-wide travel piece, the Charlottesville Welcome Book, which was followed in 2011 by the Charlottesville Welcome Book Wedding Directory as well as our quarterly, Locally Charlottesville. In 2013, we acquired the popular Healthy Living Directory. Our newest projects are Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings, an annual publication with its first issue in the spring of 2015, and Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual boutique magazine with its first issue in the Fall of 2015. In continuation with our newest projects, we opened our beautiful lifestyle boutique—Charlottesville Wine & Country Shop—in October 2018 in Ivy, VA, featuring work from over 40 Virginia artisans with items like tailgating essentials, Dubarry attire, locally made artisan foods, water, wine, beer or cider, and more.
While Robin and I did it all “back in the day”—from unloading boxes of magazines off semi-trucks into my garage for delivery to selling every ad, editing every story and doing the design, photography and bookkeeping from start to finish—our company has grown along with the publications to include many talented professionals that make publishing even more fun and exciting. Robin now serves the company as Creative Director, supervising the look and feel of everything we publish, while Jen handles content—be it editorial or advertising. We credit our success to our exceptional commitment to quality and to the talents of our staff who are uncommonly gracious, curious, smart and passionate about what they do.
We hope you enjoy the read!