If you live in Nashville, you have likely interacted in some way with Cindy Acuff — be it in person, or by seeing an ad in a local publication that she sold to a local business. And if you work in local media or are a local business owner, then you, too, have likely interacted with this local media sales legend, who recently hung up her sales hat to venture into the world of retirement. “I started at Amusement Business/Billboard Publications in 1977 and went into sales for them around 1990 until I was promoted to management five years later,” Cindy says, reflecting on the early days of her career. And while much of the art of sales is still the same as it was when she started out all those years ago (and it is most definitely an art!), as in many industries, digital has sped things up. “People still make their decisions about where to advertise based on the publication’s circulation and reach and their target audience,” Cindy says. “But everything happens faster now in the digital world. You can now get a message out digitally in a few hours instead of waiting days or weeks for a print publication to come out.”
Cindy recently wrapped up her illustrious sales career with her final account executive position being with StyleBlueprint, where she made a tremendous impact on both her clients and her team. “I met Cindy when I went to City Paper in 2006 as Ad Director. She was the senior account executive,” says Ginny Staggs, Director of Sales for Blueprint.Inc, StyleBlueprint’s parent company. “We worked together there on City Paper, helped launch (the now-defunct) Her Nashville magazine, and then worked at Nashville Scene and NFocus after the company merged with Southcomm. Cindy left Southcomm for Nashville Arts Magazine, was there for several years, and then joined me at StyleBlueprint five years ago. This is our third company to represent together.”
“Cindy always had such an incredible attitude, and her even-keeled temperament served her well,” adds Albie Del Favero, who was publisher of both Nashville Scene and City Paper. “I loved working with her. She never let the frustrations inherent in every sales career get in the way of doing a great job for her clients or for the company.”
Keith Wright, an account executive with FW Publishing, which now owns Nashville Scene, Nashville Post and NFocus, also counts himself among the lucky for having had the opportunity to work alongside Cindy. “Few have influenced my career like she has,” Keith shares. “I started working with Cindy over 25 years ago at Amusement Business where she was the General Manager. When she went to the City Paper, I followed her. Then she went to Nashville Arts Magazine and, you guessed it, like the stalker I appear to be, I followed her there as well. I don’t know exactly how many years we worked together, but I can tell you her patience, calm and can-do attitude have had an impact on me and will forever.”
As the sun sets on her time working in media sales, the future is bright for Cindy and her husband Bob. “We are planning to do more traveling around Tennessee and the Southeast in our motor home — we like to go camping,” Cindy shares of their future plans. “And we want to visit family in Huntsville now that everyone is vaccinated.”
Bob, happy that Cindy has now joined him in retirement, says simply and succinctly, “It’s time.”
Ginny sums up what likely all of Cindy’s former co-workers feel about our time working with her. “Cindy is a rare illustration of giving your best daily, of growing, giving, and being an example,” she says. “I’m so happy for Cindy and her accomplishments but will miss her consistent smile and genuine care for our team and our clients. But we won’t lose touch — you don’t let go of people who inspire you to be a better person yourself.”
We love you, Cindy, and we wish you a world of happiness in your next chapter!