Fresh out of the former Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Scott Borowsky wasn’t really sure what direction he’d go in life.
The aspect of law that interested him, securities and investments, where he’d excelled in school, didn’t seem to him to offer much opportunity.
But having grown up the son of a businessman who ran a small publication for a while, he was also intrigued by publishing.
“I met someone who published a liquor and beverage report newspaper, which circulated all over the state,” Borowsky said. “He didn’t want to sell that, but said he had another one that was a marginal publication, the Kane Report.
“I said I’d give him $5,000 down and pay [him] out. I started with my Bar Mitzvah money and borrowed from my parents and got started. I stayed with it and made it work.”
That was in 1977.
In the 40 years since, Borowsky has gone from one fledgling publication to turning Kane Communications into a player in its field.
His magazines, Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties, Tourist Attraction & Parks and Podiatry Management, have circulations of 44,000, 26,000 and more than 17,000, respectively.
“We’re known for great content,” said Borowsky, who’s moved the office over the years from Philadelphia to Upper Darby to Newtown Square to its current Ardmore location. “A lot of trade magazines are public relations pieces and we’re not.
“We have over 40 writers, and we’re always interviewing retailers for tips.
“We have all original editorial stories [and] try to stay close to the industry. We go to a lot of trade shows and conferences. We have competition, but we’ve driven out most of them.”
And after 40 years, he’s in no hurry to turn things over to someone else.
“People ask me that all the time,” said Borowsky, who grew up in Abington, where he attended Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel. (He now accompanies his son, Kyle, and daughter, Sasha, to area Chabads.)
“I’m healthy. My kids are doing well and the magazine is doing well, so there’s no reason to retire. There were times I didn’t think it was going to last. I struggled a lot in the ’80s. I came close to closing.”
While facing such challenges, Borowsky also started Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s trade publication group in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
Today, Kane Communications is thriving, which Borowsky credits to a veteran, loyal staff and an understanding of the marketplace.
And unlike many newspapers and publications, he’s confident there will always be a need for his magazines due to the nature of the content.
“People don’t buy souvenirs online,” Borowsky said. “You buy them because of the memories, the experience. That’s what drives that marketplace. We go to all the college stores, museums, hospital gift shops. Because we’re so specialized, they gravitate to us. Everybody wants to learn what’s going on.”
Contact: [email protected]; 215-832-0729