Chico’s advocate

Mike Antolock

Photo By Marisol Salgado

Mike Antolock has been trying to figure out how to promote Chico, in a unique way, for several years. Antolock wanted people outside of Chico to enjoy the “hidden gems” that locals appreciate on an everyday basis. He has lived in Chico for 17 years and considers himself more than familiar with the area. After sifting through his numerous ideas, he created Chico’s Hidden Gems, a newsletter and Web site—and an ad on the back page of SkyWest Magazine, which comes out on all United SkyWest flights—to launch May 1. (The ad can be previewed on the site now.) The 45-year-old works at the Chico post office, the Chico Municipal Airport, and now at a third job—sharing Chico with the outside world.

What is Chico’s Hidden Gems?

It is basically two things. First, it is a quarterly 10-page newsletter. It’ll go out to 15,000 homes in Chico. Second, it is a Web site:

When will the first newsletter be printed?

I don’t know. What I do know is that the Web site will be up May 1.

What will the newsletter include?

The newsletter will support 20 local noncompeting high-end businesses. The businesses will have the option of writing a half-page article about their employees, product, or anything they want to write about their business. The content of the article is up to that particular business. All of the articles will be combined to create the newsletter. The features in the newsletter are not going to be advertisements, per se.

What about the Web site?

The Web site will be a portrait of Chico that will also contain articles—not written by me. That is primarily focused on the outside world and it will do the same thing as the newsletter except it will have a lot more to it than the newsletter.

Why did you decide to name your business Chico’s Hidden Gems?

In Chico, we have what are called jewels, features, gems but they’re hidden to the outside world. Places like Orient & Flume, the Diamond Hotel, The Esplanade—these are all gems.

How many people work for you?

So far, it’s a one-man show. I’ve done everything from start to finish.

Do you have plans to expand Chico’s Hidden Gems?

When it’s finished, it will be totally different from what it is now. Some of these ideas may not work, but I had to get started. It seriously has legs of its own.