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Company finds new twist with business card director

John Seelmeyer

Anyone can publish a telephone directory because the listings are publicly available, and the market is crowded as a result.

Jinne Freeman and Holly McLean think they’ve found a way out of the crowd a directory of business-card listings.

About 100,000 copies of their first Business Card Directory covering the Reno- Sparks area is being distributed home-tohome by a cadre of 15 workers this month, and Freeman and McLean are back on the streets selling advertising for the 2006 edition.

The directory business is nothing new to Freeman, who published telephone books in California.

She’s the majority shareholder in High Sierra Publishing Inc.

The entrepreneurs, who financed the Business Card Directory with their own resources and the cash flow from advertising sales, have applied for trademark protection on the concept.

The directory is simplicity itself: Each category, whether it’s scrapbook supplies or Greek restaurants, is limited to one page, and each page is limited to three ads the size of business cards.

The limited advertising inventory creates some urgency among buyers who don’t want to be shut out, says McLean, the chief executive officer and president of High Sierra Publishing Co.

About 300 advertisers are represented in the first edition of the Business Card Directory, although numerous blank spots remain where categories didn’t sell out.

“Without a book, we didn’t have anything to sell from,”McLean said.

But she noted the company wanted to move quickly to publish its first book to begin the trademark protection process.

Ultimately, Freeman said, the company hopes to franchise its concept into other markets.