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MINORITY BUSINESS : A Glossier Version of the Black Orange Monthly Makes Debut

BRIEFCASE

March 03, 1995|Don Lee, Times staff writer

After a brief hiatus, the Black Orange is back in publication--and it has a fresh look, a new commitment and a bigger dream.

Publishers Randall and Joyce Jordan of Mission Viejo founded the monthly magazine three years ago, and it has served as the only regular collection of events and essays aimed at Orange County's nearly 50,000 African Americans.

The Jordans, who have invested their time and money in every issue, are now seeking to expand circulation beyond Orange County. "We know there is a market for our publication in Los Angeles and San Diego," said Randall Jordan, 44, a computer technician by trade.

The latest 60-page February issue has a new, glossy cover with an artistic design combining the outlines of Africa and the United States. The magazine's calendar of events now includes African American arts and cultural activities in Los Angeles, San Diego and other surrounding counties.

The Black Orange also has a new board of advisers, who have taken over some of the management duties that were done solely by the Jordans. "The advisers said it's time to run the Black Orange like a Fortune 500 company," rather than a mom-and-pop operation, said Joyce Jordan, who wants to make the publication self-supporting.

That has been an elusive goal for the Jordans, Chicago natives who have kept the publication alive despite many personal obstacles.

Ever since the first 12-page Black Orange was sold for $1 in February, 1992, the Jordans have put together every issue. (Single copies are now $3, and an annual subscription is $20.) The Jordans invested $20,000 in a press, which sits in the garage of their Mission Viejo home. By hand, they assembled, stapled and labeled each of the 2,500 copies, some of which they delivered in person to businesses, churches and shops.

But last year, the task was becoming too much for them because Joyce Jordan fell sick, Randall Jordan was laid off from his longtime job, and their teen-age son Jason wanted more family time.

The Jordans skipped the January issue and considered throwing in the towel. But first they asked members of the black community how important the Black Orange was to them. The couple were overwhelmed by the response.

"With all the positive feedback we got, we felt compelled to continue," said Randall Jordan, who has dreams of making the Black Orange a national publication. "We are still infants," he said.

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