The casual observer can be forgiven for cracking wise about “homecoming days” at Metro Times. With former Metro Times sales executive Lisa Rudy assuming the role of publisher, the alternative newsweekly now welcomes former metro Detroiter Eric Reed as its new retail advertising director, following former director Lee Berry.
A Farmington Hills native, Reed, 36, graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in business communications. Although he dreamed of becoming a teacher, he forged ahead with a career in the competitive world of fast-moving consumer goods — or, put in more down-to-earth terms, he sold coffee and cookies.
After an extended tour of duty in corporate sales, it’s no surprise Reed breaks into a hearty laugh at the mere mention of Glengarry Glen Ross. “In sales you just throw lines out from that movie,” he chuckles, adding, “Leads are for closers!”
Though his sales work put considerable experience under his belt, his labors left him yearning for something more socially rewarding. Finally, he lit out for Indianapolis and landed a job at Nuvo Newsweekly, an alternative publication in that city, where he has spent the last two and a half years managing both the Retail and Classified sales departments, experience that prepared him for his return to Detroit.
Rudy says, “We hired a national firm in our efforts to fill the ad director position. The position is a very important and difficult one to fill, and we had some pretty stiff criteria laid out when conducting the search; I needed to have someone in that position who knew the Detroit market, had a clear idea of what alternative newspapers are about, and someone who had a high degree of experience in leadership and advertising and marketing strategies. There were several potential candidates, but Eric is the only one who really covered all of the bases.”
To Reed, working in the world of alternative publishing brims with promise. He looks forward to fulfilling his teaching aspirations through working with younger people who are just getting their start in sales and who haven’t lost their curiosity. He finds it rewarding to find a workplace where he helps socially and culturally progressive forces have an impact, rather than simply “putting cookies in front of kids.” (Although, as a father of three, he is aware of the importance of cookies.)
“If you can help get the message out for people who matter, it makes you feel good,” he says.
Reed welcomes the cultural diversity of the Detroit area, with its dynamic mix of races and ethnicities. “Indianapolis wasn’t exactly a melting pot,” he explains.
Another bonus is the Detroit entertainment scene, featuring local stars and “all the bands that would jump over Indianapolis to get to Chicago or Detroit.”
Despite his powerful build, he claims he doesn’t engage in sports or any strenuous hobbies, instead simply being happy to put in an honest day of work and come home to his wife, Amy, his two daughters, Emma, 7 and Alex, 5, and his son Eli, 3. For this family man, moving back to Detroit means reconnecting with friends and family — and being able to prevail upon them for baby-sitting duties.
In the spirit of homecoming, Reed is getting an undeniably enthusiastic reception. As Rudy puts it, “Eric Reed is ready to kick it old-school and Metro Times couldn’t be happier.”Michael Jackman is the copy editor of Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org