“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”
Jenifer Maldonado Wells moved to Columbia from Colorado in 2000 to attend U.S.C. But her part-time college job with Trader Publishing turned into her dream career, and South Carolina became her permanent home.
Jenifer was business development manager for South Carolina’s Auto Mart|Auto Trader Magazine. For six years she also was direct sales manager for Columbia and Myrtle Beach, and she learned the publishing business in the process. But in 2008, when the automotive industry started a downward spiral, so did Jenifer’s career.
“I remember getting the phone call from my vice president explaining Trader had decided to discontinue publications nationwide,” she says. “Even though this exact thing had happened to many of my automotive vendor friends, I had not imagined it would be my fate. This just doesn’t happen to the gal who works 12 hours per day, has the most successful territory in the Southeast and hasn’t fallen under budget once in her career.”
“The most gut wrenching feeling was that I just wanted to go to work the next day. My father always told me, ‘Find something you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,’ and I thought I had.”
Within 24 hours, Jenifer decided to start her own publishing company, focusing on automotive and real estate magazine titles. She reached out to all of her fellow employees with Trader who would soon lose their jobs and inspired them to join her.
JBasque Publishing Inc. began publishing free weekly and monthly magazines for car dealers and real estate agents throughout the Southeast. Locally, the most recognizable magazines are for MidlandsAutoShopper.com and Russell & Jeffcoat.
Jenifer soon realized that readers need the ability to connect with dealers and agents through multiple avenues. Because she also knows that measuring the effectiveness of every advertising dollar is highly valued, she had implemented technology that tracks every lead, discovering in the process that readers first find the automobiles or homes they are interested in through print and research them later online. So, she began launching websites for her clients as well. Midlands Auto Shopper Magazine is now coupled with MidlandsAutoShopper.com, the largest local automotive website, featuring more than 15,000 vehicles from more than 100 dealerships – every make, every model, new and pre-owned.
Jenifer also has partnered with Amanda Drinkall to form Flare Inc., which specializes in marketing, communications & events. Whether it’s publishing, technology, marketing, event planning or websites, this Midwestern cowgirl has proven she can get the job done.