For decades, Vermont Life magazine has projected a bucolic image of the Green Mountain State. But it has struggled to hold on to subscribers in recent years and racked up over $3 million in debt.
Now nine bidders are in the running to take over the state's signature promotional magazine.
Earlier this year, the Legislature required state tourism officials to consider proposals for the future of the publication. That could be the sale of the operation, a licensing agreement or a public-private partnership.
The state opened the bidding process this fall and received nine submissions by the Nov. 17 deadline, according to Wendy Knight, the state's commissioner of tourism and marketing.
"The volume of submissions, to us, speaks to the strong interest in Vermont Life and its value as a marketing tool for the state," Knight says.
However Knight says the state won't publicize the names of the bidders to "ensure the integrity of the competitive bid process."
When the state opened the bidding process in September, the magazine's interim publisher, Steven Cook, said preference will be given to bidders who keep a presence in Vermont and retain the magazine's current staff.
Next, it's up to the secretaries of the Agency of Administration and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to review the submissions. They'll then make a recommendation to the state's Emergency Board.
Knight says there's no deadline for the secretaries to make their recommendation.