Mediterranean Magazine - History of the Publication

The publishing history of Mediterranean Magazine lies in the history of its founder and publisher Mr. Jay Shapiro.  Jay originally got into cultural publishing by a chance happening. While living in Minneapolis he decided to go salsa dancing at a bar in neighboring Twin City at a bar called Amelia's where the late Jose Carerra played along with Juan Bautista in the 13 piece salsa ensemble by the name of "Latin Sounds Orchestra"  That Thursday night in 1994 Jay was short on money and asked a lady standing at the bar if he could borrow come change so he could buy a scotch on the rocks.  She gave him a couple dollars for the drink and she brought him back to the table and introduced him to her sister Judy.  A few drinks later Jay was in the backseat of the car proposing marriage to Judy.  This lead to his intense love of Latin culture which he was already somewhat fascinated with having grown up around Peruvians in Sarasota, FL.   Judy talked Jay into helping with promoting a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minneapolis event and he did.  He learned to love latin music and events so he decided to start promoting salsa and merengue parties on his own.  He did this by purchasing advertisements in the local Spanish language newspaper: "La Prensa de Minnesota" eventually he started selling advertising in La Prensa.   Jay and Judy got married and then divorced.  While working for the newspaper as an account executive Jay was representing the paper at a Latino Festival on Lake Street in Minneapolis.  Jay had a booth at the festival and gave out copies of the paper.  A young man walked up to the booth and introduced himself to Jay.  He was an Italian-American by the name of Louis Fragale Jr. and Louie had three Venezuelan ladies with him.  One of the ladies was Karen Diez Riega-Perez and since Jay mentioned that he is a volunteer English tutor he started tutoring Karen.  When Karen returned to Venezuela Jay called her up and told her that he always wanted to live in Latin-America.  Karen said: come on down to Merida, my mom is a judge here in the town and odds are we can probably help get you a job teaching English. So Jay went to live in Merida for one year and did indeed teach English while living there and became so fluent in Spanish that he decided to start studying Italian while living there.  He found a local Italian newspaper which was printed in Caracas that reminded him of the paper he used to work for back home.  After moving back to Minnesota his mother had purchased a nightclub and Jay slept in the loft of the nightclub.  That weekend was New Year Even 1999.  In the loft was an original soft cover copy of a Mario Puzo book by the name of "The Godfather" Jay was so infatuated with the book that he could not put it down and ready the whole thing from start to finish. That Sunday he was paging through the Minneapolis Star Tribune Newspaper and discovered an article about: "Gianni Sent Me"  Gianni Fragale Cucina Dinner theater opening in downtown Minneapolis. In the article it spoke of someone in the "Fragale Family" and Jay remembered Louie Fragale the Italian man who in a roundabout way was responsible for him ending up in Venezuela.  So Jay called up one of his longtime Italian-American buddies Tommy Ranallo who at that time owned Kings Inn (gentleman's club) on Highway 10 in St. Cloud and Jay asked: Tommy ever heard of a certain Mr. Fragale?  And Jay told him about Fragale being involved with the dinner theater.  It turned out that Tommy was cousins with Louie Jr. and cousins with the Fragale in the historic documentary gangster dinner theater.  Jay reunited Tommy and Louie and started hanging out with more Italian-Americans. Then Jay started to think about the fact that Minnesota had five Spanish language newspapers and only 100,000 latinos, a Jewish newspaper and only about 100,000 Jewish people and the fact that there was also about 100,000 Italian-Americans and not even one Italian-Newpaper.  Jay was a subscriber to American Jewish World Newspaper from St. Louis Park, MN and thought about starting an Italian rag. He copied the layout of the American Jewish world and even the name: Italian-World yet in Italian: Mondo Italiano.  At the time Jay was dating a very loyal and fun Jewish girl in the Bob Dylan family and her sisters fiancee Mr. Randy Goldwater from New York lent him a little money to get the publication off the ground. Jay was able to launch the publication with 12,000 copies per month printed at Shakopee Valley Printers.  The rag was distributed at over 200 Italian restaurants all over the Twin Cities.  Jay put an ad in his own newspaper that he wanted to hire an account executive to sell advertising in the paper.  Jay got a phone call from a Brian Frauly.  The two agreed to meet at Legends Sports Bar in Nordeast Mpls which at the time was owned by his friend Tommy Ranallo.  Brian and Jay instantly got along.  He was an Italian-American local and already had some friend in common with Jay. The two used their press passes to get in at all of the fancy events in Minneapolis and met many celebrities and even landed some major accounts like Totino's Pizza, Nick Mancini from Mancini's Char House on West 7th Street, Mike Ciresi and many others.  Jay then remember the godfather book that he had read in that loft and thought that it would be intriguing to become an olive oil importer just like the Godfather.  He decided that since he was the owner of the newspaper he could advertise his own brand.  He came up with the idea to launch three oils.  A Siclian oil by the name: Iaco-Medici a truffle oil by the name Black Diamond Truffle Oil and he did not have a name for the Israeli olive oil and knew that based on his religion and the importance of Israel this one must be meditated on for six hours.  He sat down at the desk ready to sit for six hours  and juggling letters back and forth he came up with: isroil  is r oil  IsRoil.  It is R oil because it is royal.  IsRoil Olive Oil was born. Jay immediately went online in the year 2000 and registered the trademark with the USPTO. Jay then went on a recently launched dating site by the name of Jdate and met a girl from Holon Israel who referred him to Carmel Mizrahi to source the oil. He contacted them and they put a barrel on a ship to Bayonne New Jersey and then finally on semi trailer to Bloomington, MN.  Jay started selling the olive oil as a gourmet gift item nationwide online and had some success.  He was written about  in B'nai B'rith magazine and many other publications.  Jay decided to relocate the business to South Florida based on the cultural mix of people in the area. In early 2003 he moved to Boca Raton and promoted the product via the internet.  In Florida he became a member of the Israel Chamber of Commerce and then eventually ended up attempting to sell memberships in Israel chamber yet the chamber only paid 10% commission and they did not appreciate his aggressive online marketing tactics so Jay started his own chamber ICOTA - Israel Chamber of the Americas.  Then in 2009 he launched Luxury Chamber of Commerce to assist a member of his newly founded Israeli chamber who wanted to host a Luxury Real Estate Event. Jay had much success with Luxury Chamber and landed many celebrity speakers including a Florida Governor, the late Boxer Muhammad Ali and wife Khalilah and about 40 others.  The decision was made to grow the chamber by launching a handful of online lifestyle magazines.  Mondo Italiano Newspaper had been around for awhile and after discovering the proper software converted it from being a newspaper to a magazine.  A natural add on to the media family was Mediterranean Magazine which started out in 2013 as Mediterranean Culture Magazine then in 2015 changed domain names from MediterraneanCulture.com to Mediterranean.press and formalizing the name change to Mediterranean Magazine.  In 2016 Jay registed Mediterranean.life and made it into a turn page online magazine about food, fashion, art, and luxury lifestyle elements of the Mediterranean such as fine EVOO's and interesting yachts!