The Unstoppable Karen Hammond

KarenHeadshot-March2015It’s almost impossible to stop Karen Hammond, editor of “Purchase Area Family Magazine” and co-owner of iListWesternKentucky.com. Once she has committed to a project, not even cancer can slow her down. She proved that when she beat the disease for the second time while maintaining her busy schedule of non-profit board meetings and producing the area’s most extensive community publication.

Karen became a Paducah Bank customer in 1999. Four years later, when she had the idea to create a small parenting magazine, it made sense to her to open the business account at Paducah Bank.

“I do my banking at the Mid-City location, and everyone there is always so friendly and accommodating,” Karen told us. “We have a great relationship. I take them cookies at Christmas, and they always send me such a sweet thank-you card. It really feels like a hometown, family bank.”

The community magazine that she envisioned as a “nice retirement gig” quickly grew into the regional power-house publication it is today. It now serves all twelve counties of western Kentucky and Massac County in southern Illinois. What began as just 3,000 copies a month in 2003 has grown to over 20,000.

“As my business grew, Paducah Bank was always there to support me,” Karen said.

In addition to this growth, the magazine’s vision and purpose have evolved as the demographics of the area have shifted. Originally called “Paducah Parenting Magazine,” Karen’s concept was geared more towards parents and families in the Paducah area.

“It’s now become a community magazine with events and information of interest to family members of any age,” Karen explained. “This is why I decided to change the name in 2013. My vision is to produce an informative and educational resource that promotes interaction and communication among communities in our area. Linking these different groups together brings business to the communities we serve and helps to build local economies.”

The magazine is free and supported by advertising and local organizations in our community. You can pick up a copy almost anywhere – doctors’ offices, retail locations, restaurants, etc.

In addition to the magazine, Karen recently purchased half ownership of iList Media, which owns and operates iListPaducah.com and, with Karen’s help, has expanded into iListWesternKentucky.com. The site now promotes events and activities in all of western Kentucky and is a great fit with her existing magazine readership and advertising base.

Karen believes that the magazine and the iList site together offer not just affordable advertising and publicity, but the highest level of distribution available, as well. Her goal is to increase the customer base of businesses, both small and large, in our area.

“One of my favorite examples is the year we helped the 4-H Summer Camp increase their camper registration,” Karen recalled. “The 4-H staff was seeing a decent registration turnout – it stayed roughly the same year after year. But it was nowhere near the numbers they wanted. I suggested we promote the camp in the magazine. The results were outstanding! Not only did they immediately fill all of the available openings, but they have dramatically increased the number of campers they take each year as a result!”

Karen has no intentions of changing her pace. In fact, she and iList Media co-owner Mary Thorsby are investigating other locations ripe for their own iList sites.

Along with her ambitious goals, Karen continues her passionate support of non-profit work by serving on numerous boards and participating in fundraising events such as “Dancing with Our Stars,” where she will be honored this year as a celebrity survivor.

Purchase Area Family Magazine and iList plan to continue their positive impact on western Kentucky community involvement and have become a substantial piece of the local economy in the process.

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If you are a customer of Paducah Bank and would like us to feature your business, let us know by emailing Susan Guess at susan@paducahbank.com.