Not long after the incorporation of the City of Maricopa, Scott Bartle launched as a hyperlocal, online news source for the growing community. It was 2004, and the community was wrapped up in a predicted housing boom.

This year, InMaricopa celebrates its 15th anniversary.

Bartle said his father Jeff was part of the team that developed what was then called Southern Dunes Golf Club.

“That’s how I got introduced to the town of Maricopa,” Bartle said. “They had incredible projections for growth.”

In 2000 he started his own business, Outside the Box Marketing, “so I was looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the growth.”

There were two monthly newspapers in the small town of Maricopa, then just over 4,000 people.

“They didn’t serve the community like I thought they could have. I knew we could compete in that arena. I had a background in advertising and sponsorship, and I liked to write. I felt like I could do it, so we started an online newspaper,” Bartle said.

Launching a news site The online news website launched in 2004 and quickly took off. He said the original concept was to follow the online news site with a weekly printed publication but “it was very evident very early the digital product really made the print product almost unnecessary.”

The news website was a real-time news center for the quickly growing town. News was rather old by the time it was printed onto a page. In many ways, the digital and print products would compete with themselves.[quote_box_right]15 years ago: First year’s highlights published at

Andrew Cole benefits raise $20,000+
March 15, 2004
Friends, family and neighbors of Andy Cole came out in droves to support two events raising funds to help defray the local man’s medical expenses. Andy, 61, is a 52-year resident of Maricopa and currently battling cancer. More than 300 people attended the barn dance, which featured silent and live auction items, live music by Jim Monk and his “Almost Country Band” and tunes “spun” by DJ Eddie Rodriguez.
[Update: Mr. Cole passed away Sept. 10, 2010.]

Votes are in for Maricopa’s first elected city council
May 19, 2004
For the first time in its young history, the City of Maricopa has a City Council elected by the people. Six of the 12 candidates will join Kelly Anderson, elected in the Primary, on the Council for two or four-year terms. Stephen Baker, the leading vote-getter, and Phyllis Von Fleckinger will be the only rookies joining the Council. Kelly AndersonWill DunnEdward FarrellKelly Haddad and Brent Murphree are returning veterans, having served on the interim City Council appointed upon the City’s incorporation Oct. 15, 2003.
[Update: The new council elected Kelly Anderson mayor June 1, 2004.]

Proposed kindergarten schedule prompts spirited debate at school board meeting
May 26, 2004
The May 26 Regular Meeting of the Governing Board of Maricopa Unified School District No. 20 included a work/study session on a revised kindergarten schedule to commence with the 2004-05 school year. The changes proposed by MUSD Superintendent Alma Farrell, which would incorporate full-day and alternating full-day kindergarten in addition to the existing half-day schedule, were met with opposition from the PTO.
[Update: MUSD went through a series of instituting and rescinding and re-instituting free full-day kindergarten during the recession.]

Bashas’ preview quite a party
July 13, 2004
Bashas’ opened its doors for business today to the delight of thousands. The pre-Grand Opening celebration (official opening is July 14) filled the parking lot and store aisles alike.

[Update: Bashas’ became the city’s first “supermarket,” its presence giving Native New Yorker confidence to also open a restaurant a year later.]

City to acquire Library’s assets
Aug. 4, 2004
It will soon be official! The Maricopa Community Library will become the Maricopa City Library. Following the Aug.3 unanimous vote of the Maricopa City Council, an agreement, by which the City accepts the donation of the library, its operations, and related assets, will become effective on Sept.1, 2004.
[Update: A new library on Smith-Enke Road opened in 2009. The former Maricopa Community Library is now the Maricopa Veterans Center.]

Maricopa ‘Booming’
Aug. 14, 2004
Destination Maricopa met for the third time on Friday, August 13, 2004, at the First Baptist Church with approximately 25 interested citizens in attendance. “Everyone knows Maricopa is booming,” said Councilman Will Dunn. “In 2000 we had 1,048 residents and today there are about 7,000. With approximately 230 building permits per month, that’s roughly 1,000 new residents each month.”
[Update: By the next census in 2010, Maricopa’s population was 43,482.]

Proposed park negotiations to begin
Oct. 6, 2004
Maricopa may soon have its first community park. The Maricopa City Council, meeting in regular session on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2004, granted permission for negotiations to begin with Element Homes, agent and developer of Glennwilde Community. Element Homes is willing to build a public park at Porter Road, north of Bowlin Road and south of Honeycutt Avenue.
[Update: Pacana Park opened in 2006 as Maricopa’s first community park.]

Ground broken for Maricopa’s second elementary school
Oct. 8, 2004
As dirt flew into the air from the shovels of Maricopa School Board directors, Maricopa Elementary School’s Student Council officers and other dignitaries, ground was officially broken for the second new elementary school to be built in Maricopa on the north side of Rancho El Dorado Parkway.
[Update: After the opening of Pima Butte, MUSD created four more elementary schools.]

PGA, British Open champ John Daly coming to Maricopa
Dec. 14, 2004
World-famous professional golfer John Daly is bringing his game to Maricopa this week. On Friday, Dec. 17, the PGA Tour Pro will be appearing – and playing – at Southern Dunes Golf Club.
[Update: In 2010, Ak-Chin Indian Community acquired the golf course, renaming it Ak-Chin Southern Dunes.][/quote_box_right]

Instead, the company started 85239, a magazine-style format in 2006. In 2009, the company launched a monthly print newspaper to complement its quarterly magazine and daily online news coverage.

In 2016, the print publications were consolidated into a monthly magazine. The New Resident Guide and the Health Guide were launched a year later.

“It made sense,” he said. “It worked almost immediately in a large part because Maricopa was growing so fast and everyone was from someplace else. They needed a place to call home. They needed a place where they could meet their neighbors, find a landscaper or painter, etc. We had an online chat forum as a component of our website that was immensely popular. Imagine everyone on Facebook but on our forum. It was a great vehicle to get to know each other. It was a good complement to the news we were producing.”

One of the early partners the new media company had was the recently created Orbitel Communications. Residents in the growing city had Internet access thanks to Orbitel.

“I remember meeting the founder of Orbitel, Rick Anderson, who is a terrific guy,” Bartle said. “He was very supportive. Harrah’s Ak-Chin was an early adopter as well. It was those folks who came over early — it’s because of them that 15 years later we are still able to provide these services to Maricopa.”

Changing names

Originally the publication was called, which was the Maricopa ZIP code. It made sense at the time. The problem was the U.S. Postal Service started adding and eventually changing the ZIP codes for the town that was quickly becoming a city.

“The community was only 3,000-4,000 people at the time,” Bartle recalled. “It would have been generations before they would have expanded ZIP Codes.”

Just a few years after starting the company, the Postal Service split the city into two codes down John Wayne Parkway, using 85239 and 85238. Then all the 852 codes were transferred from Pinal to Maricopa County. Maricopa became 85138 and 85139.

“OK, I better take my brand out of the hands of the U.S. Postal Service,” Bartle said. “That’s when we came up with InMaricopa.”

The decision on the new name was established by an advisory board with “some great friends and really smart business people,” according to Bartle.

There were a lot of odds against InMaricopa working, like a general downturn in news publications along with an economic recession that plunged the growing city of Maricopa into the national spotlight for economic failure. Newspapers were failing across the nation as housing prices fell like a rock.

“It has been a bit of a rollercoaster,” Bartle said. “We, as Maricopa, were the poster child of the boom and of the bust. Thanks to our advertisers, supporters and our hard-working staff, we have been able to ride through it.”

Bartle said today InMaricopa is in a very good spot, “and we have 15 years of mistakes under our belt, so we are in a great position for the future.”

New team member

In the earliest days of InMaricopa, the staff was just Bartle.

“I was involved in everything from the web development to content production to advertising sales,” he said.

A few months into the new project in the summer of 2004, Bartle said Joyce Hollis, his friend’s mother, was moving to Maricopa. She was a retired teacher from Lake Havasu. She became the first member of Bartle’s team.

“She wrote for us and she became an editor. She is an amazing woman and was a great first addition to the team. Everything grew from there,” he said.
Hollis worked as a photographer, reporter and editor as a private contractor. The company didn’t even have an office at the time.

“It was Scott and myself,” Hollis said. “There was no brick-and-mortar building. There were 5,000 people here when I moved here in June of 2004. That was the week that Bashas’ opened, which was a red-letter day.”

Hollis said, at the time, Maricopa didn’t have a police or fire department. “I covered city hall, school board and the Pinal County Sheriff. We had a fire board,” she said. “We had lots and lots of meetings and it was just me. And every single day there was something because it was such a small community,” Hollis said.

Her first story was a car wreck at the entrance to the Rancho El Dorado subdivision where she lived “I pulled out my camera and I was taking a picture of the wreck. The sheriff ’s deputy, who I later knew, said, ‘Lady, why are you hanging out your window taking pictures of this wreck?’ We had no stoplights, not one in town,” she said.

She said Bartle, inMaricopa’s founder, was great to work with.

“He always been a great boss,” she said. “He is kind of like another son. He and my son, I believe, conspired to get me into this in the beginning. He is very fair, and he’s always been great to me. When you’re a newcomer in a new town and you have to cover all these events, pretty soon you know almost everybody in town. What a great way to become part of the community.”

Surviving boom-and-bust

Bartle said Maricopa has been a bit of a surprise. First the expected growth of the town into a city didn’t happen as planned.

“The city had these pie-in-the-sky projections,” he said. “It was probably growing too fast for a community with the little infrastructure and expertise we had in city government at the time.”

The hyper-growth of Maricopa came to a screeching halt when the mortgage crisis happened in 2008. City streets were littered with for-sale and for-rent signs as thousands of properties were reacquired by banks.

“Maricopa was on the front page of the New York Times talking about the real estate bust. There were some dark times for Maricopa. But it weathered the storm,” Bartle said.

One of the factors instrumental in the city turning the corner came from the Great White North.

“The Canadians had such an impact on buying property and moving here, at least for part of the year,” he said.

Bartle said he sees growing infrastructure as a leading economic development indicator. He said much of the success of InMaricopa is due to the city it serves.

“Maricopa is a unique community. We have to make sure we are producing well-respected and high-integrity content that is of interest to people. They have to know where to turn to get factual information,” he said.

A new partner

Bartle added a partner to the ownership in January 2017, when Vincent Manfredi joined the team.

“Vince is a terrific partner. He’s really good with people and smart,” Bartle said. “Some of his strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa; we complement each other well. He’s made a big difference, not just in the company but in the community. There are few who share his extraordinary commitment to serving our community, and he is the perfect person to captain the InMaricopa ship for the next 15 years.”

Manfredi said InMaricopa is an “extremely hyper-local company that is ingrained in the community.” He said one of the main goals of the company is to be involved in the community.

“When I first moved to Maricopa, InMaricopa (85239 at the time) provided us a lot of information about the community,” said Manfredi. “We read the newspaper, magazine and website. I am proud to be part of a company that provides that much information to new and existing residents.”|

Manfredi said the resilience of the community and InMaricopa is a testament to the needs the community and the publication have for each other.
“We were able, as a company, to get past the recession because we are such a local company,” said Manfredi. “It is a company that people rely on for information. Our readership didn’t go down. We’ve had advertisers that have been with InMaricopa for the 15 years that we have been here.”

Manfredi added InMaricopa is continuing to evolve every day. He said the reasons he became a partner in the company are Bartle and his solid belief system.

“Scott is a different type of a person. He gives 100 percent to what he is doing,” Manfredi said. “He is a guy that has integrity. When it comes to even the smallest thing, you know you can trust and rely on him to do the right thing. You don’t find that a lot in the world today. When he gives his word, he follows through. He’s a guy who holds people accountable, works hard and he loves the community.”

Manfredi said InMaricopa has experienced a great amount of growth and he expects that growth to continue.

Bartle said he has no idea what the future might bring for InMaricopa.

“I really defer to our readers and our advertisers to identify what the future looks like. We are just a conduit to serve the community — both the business community and the general citizenry. We are small enough and nimble enough that we can make changes to our business model as necessary to fill the voids that exist,” he said.

In looking back at his beginnings 15 years ago, Bartle said, “my mom reminds me of when she and one of her teacher-friends helped populate the website before we launched. They were inputting business information in the directory. Looking back at those days, I realize the things we had to do to get things done — which was everything. We had no resources. We started a company with no funding per se. I am proud of the work that everybody has put into this.”

Bartle added, “InMaricopa will forever be my baby. I’ll always do whatever I can do to ensure it is successful and going in the right direction.”

Photo by Victor Moreno

Who’s Who at InMaricopa

Scott Bartle
Title: Publisher
With InMaricopa since: 2004
Community of Residence: Currently Scottsdale; formerly (2004-2016) Rancho El Dorado, The Villages and Heritage District
Family: Wife Colleen; kids Neil (6), John (4), Kate (8 months); dogs Indy (14), Dixie (8)
Education: Indiana University
Professional Experience: Marketing, sales, event management, sponsorship consulting, association management
Most Memorable Job: Super Bowl XXX
Maricopa Volunteerism: Served as president of Maricopa USD governing board, chaired Parks, Recreation & Libraries Committee, graduated from Maricopa Citizens Leadership Academy, volunteered at Our Lady of Grace church
Hobbies: Travel, Hiking, IU Basketball, accompanying my wife to national parks
Favorite Musician or Group: Straight No Chaser
Favorite Athlete: AJ Guyton
Little-known Fact: I’m a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.

Vincent Manfredi            
Title: Advertising and Marketing
With InMaricopa since: 2017
Community of Residence: Meadows
Family:  Wife and 3 daughters
Education: Bachelors in Business Admin & Social Sciences
Professional Experience: Training, management, retail and much more
Most Memorable Job: My first job at 14 unloading trucks for $3.35 an hour.
Maricopa Volunteerism: Maricopa Unified School District Volunteer the of Year 2016/2017, Pinal County Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Member (alt), Arizona League of Cities and Towns Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Works Committee Member, Maricopa Advocate Program Platinum Member, Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force Member, Maricopa Motorcycle Riders Founder, Maricopa Pantry Volunteer, Maricopa Community Theatre Sponsor, Maricopa Historical Society Member & Volunteer, Maricopa Babe Ruth League Volunteer, Board of Adjustment Board member, MUSD20 Override Committee chairman, Maricopa Little League Volunteer & Sponsor, Maricopa High School Baseball Boosters Sponsor, Maricopa High School Football Boosters Sponsor & Volunteer, Maricopa High School Softball Boosters Sponsor & Volunteer, Central Arizona Governments (CAG) Regional Council Member, Precinct Committeeman – Rookie of the Year 2013 & Chairman Award Recipient 2016
Hobbies: volunteerism, riding my motorcycle
Favorite Musician or Group: Frank Sinatra
Favorite Athlete: Derek Jeter
Little-known Fact: I did not go to college until I was in my 30s and did it full-time while working two jobs.

Michelle Sorensen
Title: Client Loyalty Coordinator
With InMaricopa since: 2015
Community of Residence: Desert Cedars
Family: Husband Chris; kids Chrystal, Charles, Christopher
Education: Court Reporting
Professional Experience: Marketing, Sales, Legal Assistant/Paralegal, Credit/Collection Manager, Map Profile Coordinator
Most Memorable Job: Attorney General legal assistant/paralegal
Maricopa Volunteerism: All 25 years of volunteering was in Washington State
Hobbies: Travel, sewing, music
Favorite Musician or Group: Fleetwood Mac
Little-known Fact: I’m a member of Phi Theta Kappa and played soccer in my 30s and 40s for WSASA.

Raquel Hendrickson
Title: Editor
With InMaricopa since: 2014
Community of Residence: Rancho El Dorado
Family: Parents, six siblings
Education: Temple University, Brigham Young University
Professional Experience: Sports editor, general reporter, business reporter, arts & entertainment editor, education reporter, government reporter, associate editor, editor
Most Memorable Job: Helping retired GE engineers put together a book on their experiences with the Cold War-era Corona reconnaissance program after it was declassified.
Hobbies: Writing, art, theater, sports, history, following the ponies
Favorite Musician or Group: Roger Miller
Favorite Athlete: Jim Thorpe
Little-known Fact: Member of several World War I organizations

Jim Headley
Title: Reporter/Photographer
With InMaricopa since: December 2018
Community of Residence: Tortosa
Family: Son, Alex 32
Education: High School
Professional Experience: photographer, journalist, editor, publisher, business owner, web design, photographic historian
Most Memorable Job: Writing photographic instructions for International Space Station
Hobbies: Photography, Camera Collecting, playing my Jaw Harp
Favorite Musician or Group: Del McCoury
Favorite Athlete: Muhammad Ali
Little-known Fact: I’ve been a guest on shows on CNN and Fox News, including the Nancy Grace Show and Geraldo Rivera

Trisha Paige
Title: Sales Professional
With InMaricopa since: 2018
Community of Residence: Alterra
Family: Husband: Kevin; My mother: Aggie; Children: Cameron (22), Brett (20), Wyatt (9), my niece Payge (15) and my nephew Orion (10) Dog: Sully (2) Cat: Sammy (8)
Education: Certificate in Computerized Office and Accounting; Certificate of Real Estate: Arizona School of Business and Real Estate
Professional Experience: Customer Service, Real Estate, Sales
Most Memorable Job: I worked in my hometown’s library.
Maricopa Volunteerism: Co-Lead for the Relay For Life of Maricopa; Lead for our upcoming TOPS Club Chapter in Maricopa.
Hobbies: Reading, writing, singing and binging Netflix
Favorite Musician or Group: Changes all the time, right now Whitney Houston
Favorite Athlete: I don’t really follow sports but if I have to choose something I would say the Detroit Lions (no specific player)
Little-known Fact: I have always wanted to be a professional singer

Kyle Anthony Norby
Title: Multimedia Specialist
With InMaricopa since: 2018
Community of Residence: Maricopa, Cobblestone Farms. Lived in Maricopa since 2006
Family: Wife: Hannah. No kids, Our cat Charlie (3 years old)
Education: Central Arizona College and College of Southern Nevada. Will receive Associates of Arts during 2019-2020 school year
Professional Experience: Photography, Video editing and production, videography and graphic design
Most Memorable Job: Working at Wyndham timeshare in Las Vegas
Maricopa Volunteerism: Participate as a fundraiser, graphic designer and photographer for Maricopa Relay for Life. Also used to work with the PTO at Leading Edge academy
Hobbies: Video games, family game nights, going to the movies, making videos, travelling with my wife
Favorite Musician or Group: The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Little-known Fact: I want to try Stand Up comedy


This story appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.