Photography by Lilianna Story.

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 how The Scout Guide San Antonio and The Scout Guide Hill Country editor Francie Mannix discovered the brand, and what it was like to launch her first volume.

When did you first discover the Scout Guide?

I came across The Scout Guide’s beautiful blog on my iPad while driving down I-35 on my way back from Dallas to San Antonio. I immediately ascertained that there were books in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, but not in San Antonio. 

All my kids were in school in Virginia at the time, so the following week during a parents’ weekend I stopped by for a visit with [TSG’s co-founders] Susie and Christy in their offices at The Scout Guide headquarters in Charlottesville. Before I visited HQ, I’d never seen an actual guide, and I signed up right away after seeing the beautifully curated print copy. I loved how colorful and visually interesting the books were. I enjoy telling stories, and The Scout guide is a storybook about the local people and their businesses in your town. My husband encouraged me to pursue this endeavor and he passed away shortly after I bought the franchise, so The Scout Guide team has been like a family ever since. 

What made you decide to become an editor?

I have always loved magazines and sourcing different items, from vintage jewelry to antiques. I am a visual person, so I love putting beautiful items together. I am also a people person and The Scout Guide is all about the people of your town and their story behind their business. A friend said the other day to me, “You are so lucky because you meet so many different people all over San Antonio and the Hill Country.” She was right—I love this job and have produced 15 books.

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

One of the first businesses in The Scout Guide San Antonio was The Historic Pearl, a redeveloped brewery that has been turned into a world class hotel, shops, and restaurants. The marketing department liked different approaches to advertising, and they loved The Scout Guide’s look. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is to visit the farmers market at The Pearl on Saturday morning and distribute the books all around. The information booth loves passing them out to all the visitors.

I enjoy telling stories and The Scout guide is a storybook about the local people and their businesses in your town.

What was it like to launch your first volume?

Launching my first volume was so monumental for me. I bought the franchise in November 2013 and my husband passed away in January 2014. He had encouraged me to buy the franchise because he knew I would have such fun with it. I really had to pull myself up and throw myself into my business. The Scout Guide team was so supportive. When I launched my first book that September, it was a bittersweet. I owe so much to my clients, friends, and family who have supported me along the way.

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

The Scout Guide is a great franchise to have because you can have a creative outlet, meet lots of people, be your own boss, and produce this wonderful product. Sales can be difficult in any business, but when you really believe in your product, then it makes it so much easier. There is nothing like The Scout Guide. Many have tried to copy it, but the superior quality speaks for itself.

To learn more about Francie and The Scout Guide in her area, visit The Scout Guide San Antonio and The Scout Guide Hill Country websites and follow The Scout Guide San Antonio on Instagram and The Scout Guide Hill Country on Instagram. Learn about starting The Scout Guide in your city here.