Photography by White Rabbit Studios.

Though Dawn Pumpelly grew up in Philadelphia, she always has had an affinity for Huntsville, Alabama, and visited often throughout her childhood and during her college years at Sewanee. Finally she and her husband put down roots in Huntsville in 2002, joining her family’s senior living company. When Dawn stepped away from the day-to-day operations of the family business she knew she wanted to be actively involved in the local Huntsville community. Energized by how the Huntsville area is developing into a rich, diverse locale, and by the commitment of so many others around her to making it a special place to live, Dawn decided to bring The Scout Guide to Huntsville. As editor of The Scout Guide Huntsville, Dawn has the opportunity to celebrate the best of local businesses, artists, makers, and entrepreneurs, enabling locals and visitors alike to experience and support the growth of the vibrant Huntsville/Madison County area. The passionate small business advocate, pilates obsessive, and travel enthusiast will launch The Scout Guide Huntsville, Volume 6 in September 2023.

TSG: What drew you to The Scout Guide?
DP: I was so excited with everything that was going on in Huntsville—development, growth, and excitement for the future. I had lived on-and-off in Huntsville since I was 10 years old, and it was finally becoming a community that I had hoped it would someday. Selfishly, I wanted to be a part of that excitement, and selflessly, I wanted to find a way to support the growth. The Scout Guide felt like the perfect fit, and it was!

TSG: Where do you find inspiration?
DP: All of the cities in the TSG network are a constant source of inspiration. I love seeing what like-minded editor/owners are doing to support the local businesses in their cities. We are a part of something bigger than just ourselves and that is an incredibly powerful feeling.

Dawn’s dog Moo Moo with The Scout Guide Huntsville.

TSG: What’s a typical day like as a TSG editor?
DP: Every day is different. My favorite days start with sitting down in front of my computer in my pjs with my dog Moo Moo at my side and getting myself organized and caught up (what a luxury that my commute is only one set of stairs and twenty steps). From there, I usually hit the town to attend an event or meet someone for coffee or lunch to learn from each other and explore how we can collaborate.

Dawn and The Scout Guide Huntsville’s editorial team on set. Photography by White Rabbit Studios.

I usually try and connect with Sabrina, my assistant editor, who manages our digital presence and often with Ashley and Aissa who round out the creative team for our guide. I try to fit in Pilates for my back or a walk with the dog most days in between popping into our local shops, grabbing photos or messaging for our social media. During production time for the guide, there is a TON of time spent in creative planning meetings, photoshoots, choosing photos and working on our designs.

TSG: Tell us about your work/life balance.
DP: I’m a hard worker and feel most comfortable and settled when I have a lot of work on my plate. However, one of the things about being the owner/editor of The Scout Guide Huntsville, is that it enables me to control my own schedule. I like to work hard/play hard, so I batch my work throughout the course of the year to allow me chunks of time that I can do what I love the most—travel!

Dawn with her husband and son at a The Scout Guide Huntsville guide launch party. Photography by Sigh Photo Booth.

On a day to day basis, my husband also works from home and my son is a senior in high school, and like most people, we are extremely busy and running in a million directions. The most important thing I try to do is connect with each of them in a meaningful way every day.

TSG: What’s your favorite thing about being an owner of The Scout Guide?
DP: I absolutely love getting to know so many people in our community. From the small business owners themselves to the community contributors, I love connecting with the people who are making a difference in Huntsville. I am just so interested in them and their stories. These days, with TSG Huntsville having grown in its popularity and exposure, I also really love meeting people who follow Scout from our audience. It makes my day when I meet someone at an event or in the store, who says, “Hey you’re Scout! I love what you’re doing for Huntsville!” Wow, how gratifying to feel that local love coming back around. 

Dawn in Rome with the Ya-Yas.

TSG: What’s your favorite way to unwind?
DP: I really love Pilates and have enjoyed my weekly reformer class. I also love to connect with my three best friends—The Ya-Yas—who live in three other cities via video chat. They are my sounding board and my support network. Video chatting with them makes me feel like my besties are living next door and allows us to connect daily, oftentimes with a glass of wine in our hands.

TSG: What do you love most about Huntsville?
DP: The people! People here are friendly and supportive. You still get eye contact and a smile when walking down the street or the aisle in the grocery store. Most business owners I meet are focused on creating their own success while also giving back to the community. It’s a very unique place in that way. Also, we have incredible access to the outdoors all while living in an engaging city. It’s the best of all worlds!

THE HIT LIST: DAWN’S FAVORITES

Flower: Tulips. I love how they grow even after they are cut into funky shapes.
Music genre: 80s, of course.
Meal: Pizza! I could eat pizza every day and never be tired of it.
Movie: Pitch Perfect, Tommy Boy, Jerry Maguire…nothing too serious. I like the escape.
TV series: Schitt$ Creek, and not just for the laughs. I gravitate to the kindness and caring that these wacky people exude.
Vacation spot: Italy or Turks and Caicos
Piece of clothing: My Volume 5 launch party dress. Sequins and feathers—enough said.
Most treasured possession: My engagement ring. It was the start of a beautiful partnership.
Personal motto: Karma is a boomerang. Just keep putting good stuff out there.

To learn more about Dawn and her hometown city guide, follow The Scout Guide Huntsville on Instagram. Learn more about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.