Meric Tunca of Banzai Magazine
By Sabeen Faquir
Have you met Meric Tunca, the Publisher of Banzai Magazine? He’s a very interesting fellow with a diverse background and dedication to the dissemination of health information. Back in college in Turkey, Meric was a professional volleyball player. He played for indoor clubs and his university, Dokuz Eylül University. After college, Meric ran a fitness center. Naturally, he worked as a personal trainer. But, he noticed there was no fitness magazine at the time. This inspired him to begin one but during the move to the United States, his aspirations were delayed.
In America, he found a new language and a new culture. He had learned English but as it is in a lot of countries, he learned British English. So, he found the idioms were different. Regardless, he worked as a sales and marketing specialist at Staying Alive Fitness in Lake Worth. The passion to help people get and stay fit has always been with Meric.
At Staying Alive Fitness, he fortuitously met Krista Martinelli, the Editor and Publisher of AroundWellington.com. She had just stopped her print magazine and was transitioning to digital when Meric expressed interest in starting a magazine, himself. He just didn’t know where to begin. “Krista was a great mentor. She helped me with the basics,” said Meric.
He admitted it was hard starting off. Finding a printer was not the difficult part; it was finding a target audience or “finding who can most benefit from it.” About the print magazine business, Meric says that it’s stressful meeting the deadline every month. Often, doctors have a busy schedule and so it’s not always easy meeting with them for interviews or photos. “Things never go how you want, but it is rewarding work,” said Meric.
So, for seven and half years, Meric has published Banzai Wellness Magazine. It’s a very interesting name so I inquired about its origins. Meric told me “It is Japanese for ‘long, healthy life, a thousand years of good health.’ It’s also a battle cry.” He thought of the name while he was helping the Healthcorps fight childhood obesity. He got involved in order to help create health events and festivals that teach children healthy eating and exercise. He felt the institution was a battle cry and so, the name was fitting. Now, Meric works with the Arthritis Foundation and American Heart Association.
Banzai Wellness Magazine’s territory stretches among the Western Communities from Delray to Royal Palm Beach. In the last few years, Meric has ventured further east into West Palm Beach and Atlantic Avenue, too. To begin with, he was only covering Lake Worth so in his earlier editions, you will find very localized advertisers and features. But, he has always been dedicated to featuring only local health professionals and healthy eating habits.
Often, readers call to find out about doctors and have questions. Banzai Wellness Magazine obliges and gives them the contact information. Banzai also receives a lot of phone calls thanking them for the information they provide. Meric is happy to receive the positive feedback. “I try to change people’s lifestyle. I want to inspire them to live a better life.” Readers especially appreciate the features on local doctors because they feel they know them before meeting them.
Because there are not that many health and wellness magazines in the area, Meric likes to give advertisers space to write about their business. No one knows better about a business than its proprietor. Through Banzai Magazine, advertisers are benefitted greatly. Meric distributes to doctor’s offices and medical buildings. What he feels increases his readership is that because the magazines are in these waiting areas, people don’t take them; they leave them for the next reader. This way, advertisers too, get a wide scope of customers.
To know more about Meric personally, you should know he met his wife, Ferah, back in Turkey and has been in Florida for the past 23 years. He has one daughter, Lara, (12), who loves to play tennis and is learning the violin. His free time revolves around his daughter and keeping her busy. She even helps with editing the magazine and the photography! With his family, Meric loves to go out to local events. Because most of his clients are from Wellington, Meric loves to hang out here.
Meric left me with the idea that his magazines don’t expire. Just as Banzai means 1,000 years of good health in Japanese, his stories about good health are timeless.
Banzai Wellness Magazine