New telephone book targets gay community

May 28, 1994|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,Sun Staff Writer

Beginning next week, Baltimore gays and lesbians will be able to pick up one book and flip through listings of businesses that either are gay-owned or court homosexual consumers.

The Baltimore/Washington Gay and Lesbian Community Yellow Pages has about 400 advertisers, is free to consumers and will be available at selected area businesses.

"We've got everything from woodworking, yoga lessons, yachting, music, skin care, to health professionals listed," said Sharon Alt, co-owner of the Atlanta-based Chapter 2 Publishing Co. Inc. "It's not just a bar guide. We are shooting for something more professional."

The new directory will not be the first of its kind in Baltimore -- the Baltimore Gay Paper for years has produced a guide to gay organizations and businesses called the Focus Resource Directory.

"In the gay and lesbian community, we try to support people who support us," says Ned Phillips, advertising and marketing representative at the Baltimore Gay Paper.

Chapter 2 also produces gay-oriented directories in Atlanta and Boston. The company targeted the Baltimore/Washington area after research indicated that there were 300,000 to 400,000 gays or lesbians living in or around the two cities, said Marci Alt, co-owner and publisher.

The launch of the Baltimore/Washington book comes amid increasing awareness nationally of the spending power of the gay and lesbian community. According to Chicago-based research firm Overlooked Opinions, gay and lesbian Americans spend about $514 billion annually, and many companies are beginning to target gay and lesbian consumers.

For example, Swedish-based furniture retailer Ikea made headlines in April by launching a national television ad campaign featuring two men shopping for a dining room table.

The Alts plan to start a fourth directory in Phoenix in December, said Marci Alt.

"The one thing that people are not homophobic about are dollars and cents," she said.

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