John B. Marek
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About John B. Marek
John B. Marek is an award-winning essayist and storyteller whose distinctive writing style combines elements of both forms, imbuing his nonfiction work with a storyteller's flair and his fiction with the keen observations of an essayist.
An avid outdoorsman, gardener, and dog parent, much of John's recent writing - both fiction and nonfiction - focuses on themes of nature, rurality, and self-reliance. His older work deals more broadly with quality of life, work, and place.
John has published six books; the essay collections Secrets of Neighborhood Marketing (2006), Breakfast at Midway (2008), Ben and the Art of Lawnmower Maintenance (2018), and Such Is Life in Vacationland (2022), and the short-fiction collections The Bug Jar and Other Stories (2016) and Ocean of Storms (2019). Two of his short stories, "Bandito" and "'Esque," from those collections won Anson awards for Best Adult Fiction.
John's work has also appeared in such diverse publications as the Charlotte Business Journal, Statesville Living, Business North Carolina, N.C. Outdoors, the Triangle Business Journal, and Site Selection. His Field Notes column, offering a unique blend of humor, nostalgia, curiosity about how things work, and life lessons, is made available to more than 3,000 registered readers weekly through his partnership with the Speckled Paw Coffee chain. (www.speckledpawcoffee.com)
John grew up on the shores of Lake Erie near the town of Port Clinton, Ohio, graduated from Bowling Green State University with a degree in Business Administration, and settled in Northwest Ohio, where he held management positions in retail, technology, and manufacturing from 1986 to 1994.
In 1995, opportunity called him south to the Charlotte, North Carolina, area where he has worked for the past two decades as an advisor to industry, local economic developer, and statewide advocate for rural issues.
In 2020, John partnered with New Beginnings Moravian Church to launch a faith-based community garden where he and a team of volunteers demonstrate sustainable small-scale horticultural techniques while providing fresh produce for the food-insecure of the community.
John lives in Huntersville, North Carolina, with his wife Janet and their rescue dogs Laika and Millie. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Titles By John B. Marek
This second edition of Breakfast At Midway combines the best of the original book with newer essays, anecdotes, and articles relating to quality of life, work, and place. Many of these are published in print here for the first time, while several have previously appeared in publications such as the Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer, Business North Carolina, Chamberlines, the Charlotte Business Journal, and Business View. Taken as a whole, they offer unique insight into the interconnected worlds of corporate business development and economic development.
Secrets of Neighborhood Marketing is the third iteration of this book. The first, published in 2005, was a 40-page loose-leaf workbook printed in conjunction with a series of Neighborhood Marketing seminars I presented for Chambers of Commerce, Workforce Development Boards, and Economic Development Organizations across the Southeast from 2005 to 2007. That version contained only lists, examples, and exercises that were used during my live seminar presentation. It took the (overly wordy in retrospect) name of the seminar, 7 Secrets of Successful Neighborhood Marketing.
Seeing an opportunity to reach a broader audience who could not attend one of my presentations in person, I recorded and transcribed the seminar. With a little editing, that became the 2006 "stand-alone" version of 7 Secrets of Successful Neighborhood Marketing I sold through 2010.
By 2010, technology-driven shifts in the nature of sales and marketing made that book seem dated, if not obsolete, and I discontinued it. Recently, though, I picked it up again and looked at it with fresh eyes. The fundamental principles upon which the book and the Neighborhood Marketing concept, in general, were based are still sound, even if some of the methods of implementation were a little "analog." I spent a few hours cleaning up some of the more egregious references to software that no longer exists and printing and distribution methods that no longer make sense. I am republishing it as an ebook, Secrets of Neighborhood Marketing.
Despite the modernization, it is still very much an "old school" book. Social media is only briefly mentioned, and websites and email marketing are covered in very basic terms. There is an anecdote about a "car phone" promotion that is sure to make anyone under the age of 30 scratch their head. In other words, if you are looking for a book on cutting edge internet marketing, this is probably not the direction you want to go. But, if you are seeking a powerful framework for building your business through low-cost, high-impact techniques that turn neighbors into customers and customers into fans, I believe there is still a lot of life in these old bones.