Changes Start with... THE SPARK "at the heart of the alternative west country"



Our print run varies from 32,000 to 34,000 copies each quarter.

Our rather conservative estimate of 3 readers per copy means we have around 100,000 readers. Having checked the population statistics we think that means we reach around 1 in every 50 people in the region!


So not only are we the biggest-sized ethical/alternative magazine in the UK, we think we’re the widest read too. And we’ve been doing it since 1993, so we’re well established with lots of committed, loyal and lovely readers and advertisers.


Until recently we did all our own distribution – and we still do most of it.


That means we hire 2 white vans, each with a driver and a runner, and deliver bundles of Sparks to hundreds of outlets each quarter. Usually Darryl and Gavin do the Bristol drops, and Vicki and Erica do the rest of Sparkland*. It takes us 5 days to distribute all the copies we print each quarter. Do say hello if you see us!


We think its important to be in charge of our distribution so we can ensure we go to the right places where the magazine will be picked up by the right readers. We constantly monitor and update our distribution lists, deleting the places that don’t work, adjusting numbers, and adding more interesting and relevant venues. We want to be responsible so we recycle any magazines that have not been picked up – but because we’re so on the ball there really aren’t very many!


About 18,000 copies go to Bristol, around 5,000 to Bath, and a further 9,000 or so are spread all over the counties of Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire as well as in selected outlets in Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, the Midlands, Shropshire and Wales.


We’re no fly by nights - every single place we take a bundle of Sparks to has seen the mag and agreed to stock it (many of them have actually approached us and asked if they could stock The Spark). Our distributors include wholefood shops, green & eco stores, city farms, libraries and community centres, colleges and schools, organic cafes, galleries, theatres and art centres, complementary health clinics and spas. Sometimes the mags are literally whipped out of our hands before we have time to unwrap them!


Since 2009 we’re very happy to be getting support with our distribution from the Essential Trading Company – the wholefood distributors. Our advert in their wholesale catalogue means that any one of Essential’s stockists across the country can order a regular delivery of Sparks for their customers each quarter. At present (Spring 2010) they are distributing 3,000 copies of The Spark for us. Thanks Essential!


If you know of somewhere that you think should stock The Spark, or you’re a shop or venue that would like to distribute us, or you’ve spotted a gap you think we should fill - please let us know. Thanks in advance.


Click here to find your nearest distributors


* Sparkland, as we call it, covers an area with a roughly 50 mile radius around Bristol – it includes Bath, Cheltenham, Swindon, Trowbridge, Wells, Stroud, Gloucester, Glastonbury, Taunton, Weston-super-mare, Frome, Cheddar, Shepton Mallet, Corsham, Wootton and Cirencester, but we even find ourselves as far afield as Lacock, Totnes and West Wales!


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