Meagan Thomas hates the word “foodie.”
“I want people to call me a local food expert,” she said. “It sounds so uptight and ridiculous, but that’s what I am.”
Thomas is the owner and founder of the marketing agency, Springs Native Creative; the podcast, Single in the Springs; and the food blog, Springs Native.
“The goal with all of my businesses is always to make Colorado Springs better,” she said. “I’m of the mindset that if there is something you don’t like about a place or institution, you should change it.”
After graduating with a journalism degree from Baker University in Kansas, Thomas worked as a news reporter for the Lawrence Journal-World for three years before returning to the Springs to work for BoardingArea, a travel site.
At the time, she said she was looking forward to returning home to see how Colorado Springs had grown in her absence. She quickly realized the food scene in particular was impressive, but it needed more publicity.
“At the time, aside from the Indy and The Gazette, there were no other food blogs,” she said. “This was 2013 timeframe when I first started Springs Native. I basically would find these really cool places to eat. By the time I wanted to go again, they had closed because people just weren’t finding out about them quick enough. I thought I could be a travel blogger, but for food in Colorado Springs.”
In September of 2019, Thomas created her podcast, Single in the Springs.
She was inspired, she said, because “dating in Colorado Springs sucks. That is why we came up with Single in the Springs — to make people feel like they’re not alone and to make dating suck less. We do mixers, speed dating and other paid events. Obviously with the pandemic, those are put on hold.”
After working for a few other publications and marketing companies, Thomas’ blog and podcast gained enough traction to allow her to pursue her businesses full time. She also began offering paid advertising opportunities for local businesses through her marketing agency, Springs Native Creative.
“I specialize in the Colorado Springs community and that audience,” she said. “That’s why I work on branding with a lot of local, small businesses. I’m here to support the local restaurant industry.”
Her first official client was Mark Anthony’s Pretzels. After working with the company to create a website, get earned media and utilize targeted marketing, Thomas said the orders began to roll in. She couldn’t believe her almost immediate success.
Taking a leap of faith and leaving the traditional workforce to pursue her passion full time was intimidating, but it paid off.
“Leaving my job for what I do now was worth the risk because I love Colorado Springs and I really want to see these places succeed,” Thomas said. “My goal with Springs Native is not to make money. My goal is to support the local restaurant community.
“I don’t want people to say that [Colorado Springs] is Denver’s little sister,” she added. “I want people to say Colorado Springs is a wonderful place to live — and it’s completely separate from Denver.”