We started The Scout Guide in 2010 with the goal of bringing small business owners in our hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, together through a beautiful book and a network that was stronger than the sum of its parts. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we were also starting a community of entrepreneurial, creative, smart, small business-owning ambassadors across the country who are just as passionate about their towns as we are about ours.

Almost immediately after the publication of our first volume of The Scout Guide Charlottesville, we began hearing from people who had seen the guide while visiting and couldn’t wait to create one for their city. We began franchising The Scout Guide to allow others who shared our mission to support and celebrate the small business owners in their towns, while also starting a creative and fulfilling business of their own. By the end of 2012, Editors in nearly 20 locations had published their first volumes; today, we have Editors in more than 60 cities nationwide advocating for the small businesses they love in print, online, and in their everyday lives.

Now, when you join The Scout Guide family, you become part of a network that brings together thousands of small businesses across the country. You become part of a group of endlessly inspiring Editor/Owners who make a business out of being creative, passionate, and in-the-know. And you become part of a movement that believes in supporting and celebrating the people who make our communities strong and special. We can't wait to meet you.

— Susie & Christy


SUSIE MATHESON began her career in publishing in San Francisco. After getting married, she moved to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she worked at BoxerJam, an internet gaming startup. She then started a men’s handkerchief business, which she ran while raising her three children. After selling her business, Matheson started a blog, Scout Charlottesville, where she wrote about the local treasures she discovered while shopping and exploring in her town. The response was overwhelmingly positive; readers embraced Matheson’s voice and coveted her unique finds, and the businesses that Matheson mentioned in her posts saw their sales figures increase. From that successful formula, The Scout Guide was born.

CHRISTY FORD started her career in New York City, where she was a photographer for shelter magazines for seven years. She then moved to Charlottesville, where she opened And George, an antique and home store, with her mother. The store soon became a favorite among locals and a destination for out of town visitors, and it is currently celebrating its thirteenth year in business. In 2010, Matheson approached Ford with an idea: she proposed that they collaborate on a beautifully produced guide that featured the best of Charlottesville. They envisioned The Scout Guide as a book worthy of display on a coffee table and right at home on a bedside table in a guest room, filled with photos depicting the independent businesses—and, just as important, the faces behind them—that made their town unique. The first volume of The Scout Guide was published in spring of 2010; today, thanks to a growing team of Franchise Owners across the country, there are more than 2 million Guides in print (and counting!).