In 2004, friends Duane Hixon and Earl Seals were burnt out from their jobs and thought there must be a company they would both actually enjoy working with. Time to spend with their growing families, unlimited financial opportunity, a workplace with values that matched their own – were these too much to ask for?
It didn’t take long for the pals to realize that perhaps the easiest (and only) way to find their ideal company was to build it themselves. So, first things first, they started drafting a mission statement and found this particular task came quite easily.
THE N2 MISSION STATEMENT
To build a nationwide company that honors God, strengthens the family, and creates financial wealth for everyone involved.
One big to-do down, one more to go: decide what the business would actually do. At this time, there were a handful of small companies here and there creating newsletters for neighborhoods, but no one was doing a high-quality job or publishing community magazines on a large scale. The two friends thought, “We could do that!” And so Duane and Earl’s flagship product – Stroll magazines (formerly known as N2 Publishing) – was born.
The Growth Story…
Suffice to say, a lot happened here at N2 in the early years. Like with any new business, kinks were worked out and strategies put into place to enable (and handle) expanding operations. Within the first six years, we increased production from a single neighborhood publication in Wilmington, North Carolina, to 100 monthly magazines serving neighborhoods all across the nation.
Two years later, in 2012, we received exciting news most businesses only dream about: N2 was ranked in the top 1,000 (#813, to be exact) on the annual Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies.
But the growth didn’t stop there.
We would ultimately make the Inc. 5000 list for eight consecutive years, earning a spot in the Inc. 5000’s prestigious “Hall of Fame.”
…But Known for More Than Growth
When you expand as rapidly as N2 did in our first decade-plus of business, it’s easy for that growth to be the main storyline – the go-to descriptor for the company. But this isn’t what Duane, Earl, or any other leader wanted their reputation staked on.
No, for us, what was always at the heart of N2 was our culture. And just like recognition for fast growth from national brands like Inc. and Entrepreneur, we’ve earned awards year after year from those brands – and dozens of others – for also being a great place to work.
2018 was a banner year for cultural recognition at N2: We were ranked #5 on Entrepreneur’s list of Top Company Cultures for medium-sized businesses.
What does it mean exactly to be recognized for culture? It means, in many cases, that team members themselves have positive things to say (via anonymous surveys conducted by the award-giving organizations) about what it’s like to work at the company. Across these countless surveys, patterns emerged: N2 is known by our team for being a transparent company with much-loved benefits and perks.
This is the reputation company leaders care about.
Beyond Neighborhood Publications
Through monthly stories in the neighborhood magazines, as well as community events, N2 was successfully “turning neighborhoods into communities” and embracing camaraderie among its team members. Not to mention the fact that the magazines also brought together local businesses with ideal consumers in their area – a meaningful way to impact local economies. But what about other groups who could benefit from shared stories, events, and business introductions? Company leaders knew there was more we could offer.
In 2015, N2 reimagined its flagship product for the real estate community by launching the Real Producers brand. Staying true to our value proposition of helping build community, Real Producers magazines “connect, elevate, and inspire” readers every month by sharing the stories of top-producing real estate professionals in a local market.
Real Producers proved to be a hit, so N2 took yet another leap of faith and expanded its offerings further. In 2017, BeLocal publications and Medical Professionals magazines were introduced. BeLocal includes stories and tips from hometown residents; issues are provided to new movers in a community or township to help welcome them to the area. And Medical Professionals share the stories of top physicians and health care industry titans in a given market.
Though every N2 Company product serves a different audience, there are common threads running through them all. Each one exists to build community and connect people with local businesses they can trust.
A Greater Cause
As a for-profit company, we had the business of generating revenue down pat. But for an organization that prided itself on being a community builder with a people-first attitude, something was still missing. Enter: N2GIVES.
For many organizations, there’s a particular cause or injustice that sparks a passion – something that makes them want to effect change. For N2, this is the epidemic of human trafficking. When Duane and Earl realized there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history, the two felt called to help.
And because contributing to the fight against human trafficking was a personal passion for both of our founders and their families, they decided to make this fight a cause the entire company could get behind. Our corporate giving program, N2GIVES, was created in 2016. Through this program, we donate millions every year to the world’s leading nonprofits in the anti-trafficking realm.
To date, N2GIVES has provided more than $10 million to those on the front lines rescuing and restoring the lives of modern-day slaves – from sex trafficking victims here in the U.S. to children forced into back-breaking labor in third-world countries.
The N2 Company Today
Sixteen years later and nearly 1,000 magazines strong, the company originally known as N2 Publishing was rebranded in 2020 as The N2 Company. Why the change? The new name better reflects our growing portfolio of media products – including digital marketing services offered through our newest brand, Hyport Digital.
Today N2 is still led by Duane (CEO) and Earl (president). Under their guidance, hundreds of team members located throughout the U.S. work to bring custom monthly magazines to communities nationwide every month.
Even with our rapid growth and well-established culture, N2 is still working toward the same mission that was decided on day one; a mission that betters the life of anyone and everyone who works with The N2 Company!
Interested in joining the team? Check out our work opportunities here.