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Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens Suspends Amidst ‘Bloodbath’ at Publisher

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Cottages & Gardens Publications, which publishes four lifestyle magazines in New York, Palm Beach, Connecticut, and Westchester, has laid off four staffers and suspended publication of Palm Beach Cottages & Gardens Magazine. C&G is also closing their New York offices and relocating employees to their headquarters in Westport, Connecticut.

FishbowlNY spoke to D.J. Carey, who is the editor-in-chief of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens and the editorial director of Westchester Cottages & Gardens, who said that the suspension of the Palm Beach magazine was due to the economic crisis. Carey told us that:

“the Palm Beach economy is probably a year ahead of what’s happening right now in New York so our feeling was that it was time to get back to our core business. Because it’s suspended doesn’t mean that we won’t re-activate it. We just didn’t feel that the economy was right for it right now”

Carey also said that closing the Manhattan office also helps Cottages & Gardens with their goal of focusing on their “core business” in the New York-area. A former Cottages & Gardens staffer told FishbowlNY that the office closure was simply a cost-cutting move and called the layoffs “a bloodbath” that included sales staffers, designers, and former editorial director Barbara Dixon. The tipster also said that Cottages & Gardens owner Richard Ekstract had “even fired his son [publishing finance director] Michael Ekstract.” We spoke to Michael Ekstract who denied that he’d been laid off and said he’s “shifting to moving out of the company and doing some other projects.” Ekstract will be working full time at Verdant Magazine a green publication he created with his father in 2006.

This summer, the elder Ekstract revealed that he’d be putting Cottages & Gardens Publications up for sale. Our sources inside C&G say this week’s changes are designed to help Ekstract “unload” the magazines. Carey says the cuts and restructuring are all a result of the economy and have nothing to with any potential sale. “In fact,” he told us, “the people helping with the potential sale discouraged any changes before the sale.” Carey says Cottages & Gardens Publications is still on the market.

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