Hey, everyone, gather round! I’ve got some exciting news to share. Tumbleweeds has new owners: Jen and Justin Schroer.
Many of you know I’ve been thinking about selling Tumbleweeds for some time. I started Tumbleweeds in 1995, when my son, Ariel, was about to enter first grade. Twenty-six years is a long time to be tied to a quarterly print cycle and the mechanics of running a business. I still loved editing articles, and our pile of awards from New Mexico Press Women 2021 Communications Contest confirmed that we still had a wonderful product — but I felt ready for new projects. I feltTumbleweeds needed someone with new energy, someone with a Zen “beginner’s mind.” I passed a couple of self-imposed “last issue” dates, but I couldn’t bring myself to close up shop before a new owner came along.
One night in February, I had a nightmare. Someone told me that Logan Roy, the despicable media mogul in the HBO show “Succession,” was jockeyng to take over Tumbleweeds. I had met Jen and Justin a few months earlier and was immediately impressed by their abilities, but they had yet to submit an offer. Should I take the proverbial bird in the hand — even if the bird made me cringe — or hold out for the owners I wanted? Would I have even a choice?
Two days later, I got a phone call from the broker. She was emailing an offer from the Schroers.
To say the least, I was thrilled. Between them, they bring a wealth of qualifications. Jen works for the New Mexico Tourism Department. Justin works for Presbyterian Healthcare Foundation. They have two young children, Ryker, 3, and Aviva, 1. Their parents live in New Mexico — Jen’s in Santa Fe, Justin’s in Albuquerque — so they are anchored here for the long run. They bring new skills, enthusiasm, marketing and media smarts, and — maybe best of all — a love of Tumbleweeds and desire to keep the content and quality consistent.
Their first big plan is to bring back the print issue, starting this fall, which we suspended last summer because of the pandemic. Ann Hackett will be back to design the print edition, which we suspended last summer because of the pandemic. Flor de María Oliva will be our Spanish editor. Kristen Roby and I will continue editing for a year.
At our closing in May, two days before Mother’s Day, it’s hard to say who had the biggest grin.
“I’m excited about how this aligns with our life with two toddlers,” Jen said. “I’m excited to be taking over a beloved publication that has provided resources for families for more than two decades and keeping it going, and I feel honored that you’re trusting us with it.”
“I’m looking forward to being in the moment in this phase of life with our kids,” Justin added. “Just going through the buying process, I’ve already learned so much about Santa Fe, of things that I can’t wait to do with our kids. I think about how much fun it’ll be to get to experience Santa Fe through our kids while they’re young.”
I thought back on how Tumbleweeds grew up as our family did. For decades, Charles and Ariel served, more or less willingly, as grist for the mill of my editor’s notes. Truth be told, I don’t feel much older than I did when I started, but I mark the years by the changes in Ariel’s life, and in the pages of Tumbleweeds. I’ve become an elder states-mom, seeing Santa Fe’s family organizations and programs emerge and grow. I’ll continue to treasure that role, now from a back seat.
After signing papers, we moved the magazine distribution boxes and racks from the back of our truck to theirs. We exchanged fully vaccinated hugs. They drove off with their full pick-up, and Charles and I went out for margaritas.
I’ve imagined over the years how I’d say goodbye to Tumbleweeds. Maybe with a swan song, like Diana Ross singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” when the Supremes broke up. (Oh, for that voice!) Maybe with ET’s scratchy “I’ll…be…right…here,” as he tapped Eliot’s forehead with his glowing, wrinkly fingertip. But I’m only partially leaving at this point, so let’s just call this my cygnet song.
And please give Justin and Jen your warmest welcome and encouragement in the transition. We’re in good hands.