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Uptown Magazine being sold after ad revenue slumps

After a five-year run, Todd Trimakas is selling Uptown Magazine.

Trimakas said he’s finalizing the deal this week, and the January issue will be published under the new owner, T.J. Larsen, founder and president of My Townhome, a Charlotte real estate firm.

Trimakas said a combination of declining ad revenue and escalating printing costs convinced him to sell the magazine.

“We did well for a while,” he said, “but with the economic downturn it got to the point where it took a tremendous effort just to break even.”

Trimakas said he will focus on his advertising and marketing company, Trafk Media, which he and business partner Matt Kokenes started early this year.

“(Trafk Media) helped me make the decision to sell Uptown (magazine),” he said. “It’s a service-based business and it actually makes money.”

The company is based in Plaza Midwood, where Trimakas also published Uptown.

Larsen, who founded My Townhome in 2000, said he plans to set up editorial operations for the magazine in his South End office.

“That’s one area where I can immediately shave expenses,” Larsen said. “I already own the office space and have bookkeeping and administrative staff in place.”

Trimakas said he quit his job as a project manager at First Union, now Wachovia, to start Uptown magazine. The first issue hit stands in August 2005.

“At the time uptown was thriving,” Trimakas said. “It had the most money and the most activity, and there was no publication out there to capture that excitement.”

Trimakas said that while the magazine was profitable for many years, he never made enough money to hire an adequate number of employees to handle sales and help boost circulation.

Larsen said he plans to stick with the same basic editorial format, including stories about nightlife, restaurants and real estate, but overall he wants the magazine to be more family-friendly.

Trafk Media has generated controversy through what Trimakas calls “guerilla” advertising. The company angered a member of Charlotte Center City Partners after it used spray chalk to create about 50 temporary ads on uptown sidewalks on Halloween.

Sam Boykin can be reached at sam.boykin@mecktimes.com.

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