The Founders

It’s a funny thing when you start something. There’s this feeling. A quiet sensation of the great potential of an idea, tempered with unease over the possibility of its failure. It’s a feeling that can scale from the smallest of personal endeavors to the largest of worldwide ambitions. And of course that feeling was there (more in the “smallest of personal endeavors” camp) at the humble start of Volume One. When I, along with co-founder Dale Karls, launched this project back in 2002, I had just turned 23 years old. We had very little experience, hardly any connections, and almost no plan whatsoever. Yet we had reason for optimism: a desire to learn, talented friends, and really nothing to lose.

Lucky for us, the “talented friends” list just kept growing, and it still is. And that’s a major reason why this organization has worked – it just happens to be in a community with an un- usually high ratio of creative people willing to put in the effort it takes to be a part of something bigger than themselves. We especially owe a lot to those talented folks who joined our ranks early on, helping give a voice to not only the publication, but to a large segment of our community. They helped us set the tone, and chart the course.

But of course it doesn’t matter how many amazing people you have to contribute writing or photography if there’s nothing interesting to cover. And that’s where you came in. After our first issue came out, we heard our share of snide remarks such as, “Well that was nice fellas, but it looks like you covered all there is around here. There will never be enough going on to print something every month!” Well, it turned out there was. And then some. And that’s the only reason Volume One is here yet today – it isn’t because of me, our staff, our contributors, or even our advertisers. It’s because this community kept building itself. It’s kept reaching forward. It’s given us 200 issues worth of people, ideas, events, and businesses to cover. And it doesn’t look like the well will be drying up any time soon. As cliched as it might sound, we really are just a mirror – holding up the reflection every two weeks. However, every so often we try to sprinkle some magic future dust on the mirror to help us not only see what the Chippewa Valley is now, but envision what it could be tomorrow.

I remember our three-year anniversary event at the House of Rock in 2005. It was in mid-March and almost two feet of snow had fallen. The small crowd that made its way through the massive storm was treated to live music (including Justin Vernon in DeYarmond Edison), a few humorous readings, and even cake. Since then, a lot has changed for Volume One. I took over the reins on my own later that year (with continued involvement from dozens of early contributors), and our mission and scope began to grow. Our editorial focus evolved from mostly music and arts to also include community issues, economic development, and a whole range of new takes on what covering “culture” could mean. Then came a few community events, a dynamic new website, a few more events, and then a store. And now with this, the marking of our 10th Anniversary, we’re announcing even more evolutions and some pretty big changes – including an exciting move you may have heard something about (see page 30).None of it would have been possible without the thousands of locals who have somehow touched this organization. I am truly grateful for the sup- port Volume One has received over these years, and I’m very proud to call this place home.

Nick Meyer
Volume One, owner/editor/publisher
March 30, 2012

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