woman in fieldPhotography by Casey Yoshida.

We’re always hoping to make a good first impression, and that first-time readers of The Scout Guide will put the publication down feeling inspired to learn more about the featured businesses—and, if they’re out-of-towners, to seek out (or start) a guide in their own hometown. In this series, we talk to our editors about their TSG “firsts,” from their first encounter with The Scout Guide to the first business they scouted and more. Read on to learn about The Scout Guide Chattanooga owner/editor Amy Walters’ notable “firsts.” 

When did you first discover The Scout Guide?

I discovered The Scout Guide in 2017 when I was asked by the previous Chattanooga owner/editor to provide creative direction on a few of her photoshoots for The Scout Guide Chattanooga, Volume 6. I ended up taking the Volume 6 launch party photos that year and was so enamored with the members and the buzzing community feel around the publication and everything about TSG.

What made you decide to become an owner/editor?

I already had a passion for supporting local businesses and the role of owner/editor was the perfect culmination of all my skills leading up to this point in my career. I am so inspired by local business owners and want to preserve and celebrate the unique and special qualities that each of them bring to our community.

“I am so inspired by local business owners and want to preserve and celebrate the unique and special qualities that each of them bring to our community.”

Tell us about the first business you approached to be in the guide?

I approached
Sleepyhead Coffee in the thick of quarantine in 2020. They were such a bright light for me and partnering with them gave me the confidence I needed to continue scouting in order to produce Volume 8 in such a challenging climate. I’m forever grateful to the owners Brandon and Christian for believing in my vision and taking a chance on the new wave of TSG Chattanooga. 

What was it like to launch your first volume?

Launching my first volume was surreal. Not only was it overwhelming to watch the months of blood, sweat, and tears come to life in such a magical way, but we were the first to throw a group event since the pandemic had hit Chattanooga, which was nerve racking as well. Despite still wearing masks and keeping a safe distance, the energy you could feel at that launch was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. As many attendees said, it was a much needed reminder of life after COVID and the hope of the next chapter for small businesses. It was also a chance to celebrate local on a whole other level after making it through 2020. The immense joy I felt seeing all my members view Volume 8 for the first time is a feeling that’s hard to put in to words. The launch party is my Christmas Morning—best day of the year, hands down! 

What’s the first thing you would tell a prospective owner?

The first thing I tell prospective owners is to create your village. This role is not for the faint of heart and you will need people in your corner both on your team and as allies to be a positive voice for your mission and vision. Don’t try to do it all alone, it truly takes a village to be successful, and crafting that village around you to balance your weaknesses and amplify your strengths should be your number one priority. 

To learn more about Amy and The Scout Guide in her area, visit The Scout Guide Chattanooga  website and follow The Scout Guide Chattanooga on Instagram. Learn more about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.