Celebrates count down to our 40th year!
by Jean Loxley-Barnard
In June of 1981, wanting to start a magazine, I bought Great Bridge Press Printing in Chesapeake. It began a great adventure which continues as we count down the 12 months to our 40th year!
Years of writing and editing newspapers and yearbooks in high school and college fed my passion for publishing. After a college summer job as substitute publisher for The Sudbury Citizen, a weekly New England newspaper, I longed for a hometown publication.
As I worked my way through George Washington University in D.C., I enjoyed interesting careers. First as a student placement officer; then an administrative assistant to scientists from Jet Propulsion Lab partnering with NASA on a space project; finally, as an Employee Development Officer for the Navy.
These great positions had fascinating stories attached that broadened my world. But, my career paused for twelve years when raising two children in Chesapeake. I lived a family life and served on city and regional boards, such as Chesapeake Care Free Clinic and Regional Mental Health. All broadened my knowledge of organizations and people I came to admire. My experiences provided a good background for publishing.
After purchasing the printing business in June of 1981, I began publishing The Great Bridge Shopper in November. Three thousand copies printed in-house, collated, folded and delivered by family and friends, became four thousand by January of 1982, increasing continually. Initially, my kids helped deliver The Shopper in Great Bridge to every other neighborhood, every other street, every other home. Soon we hired 10-12-year-old kids to collate, fold, and deliver 100 to 200 copies in their neighborhoods. Buddy Smith was one of those kids, and his parents had recently established Russell's HVAC. Today, Buddy is at the helm of the business that has been twice honored as Chamber Business of the Year and is one of our long-time advertisers.
When constant growth necessitated out-sourcing the printing and labeling of several community editions, direct mailing had also been established. We had grassroots orientation, each edition mailing to 10,000 upscale homes in distinct communities, such as Great Bridge, Greenbrier, Deep Creek, and Moyock, N.C. Later, more editions were mailed to Western Branch/Churchland, Suffolk, Kempsville and, for twenty of the years, Princess Anne and Great Neck in Virginia Beach. Periodically, while consistently mailing over a million issues a year, we have added special editions to targeted areas when requested by clients, such as two editions in Norfolk in a year.
In 2009 we launched Doctor to Doctor Magazine, mailing in fall and spring, to area physicians and dentists, plus other medical professionals. This publication is meant to be a social connection for doctors, not another AMA Journal. We have written about the contributions and interests of these professionals, supportive of each other, focusing on their personal as well as professional contributions and interests. It has been well received in the medical community and appreciated by a business community that serves and supports the medical profession.
Stories, our signature product,
tell about the people behind
local businesses and organizations
We are grateful for John May's guidance as we focus on the interrelationships of this important group in our community. His unique background in communications and experience of more than a decade serving on the Board of Trustees of Johns Hopkins Medical Center helps us focus on the humanity of medicine. We also appreciate insights from the internationally recognized Director of EVMS's Diabetes Institute, Aaron (Arthur) Vinik, MD who has shared so many insights in our magazine. We have been honored to have encouragement from and articles contributed by these and so many other professionals who make this publication possible.
Our signature product in all of our publications is stories of the people who have created and grown businesses and practices. We firmly believe that Neighbors want to do business with neighbors! It has been our guiding light. We all want to know who is behind the services we seek. What are the goals, commitments and reputation of the entrepreneurs in our communities?
We don't hand out lists; we tell their stories so that our readers can make their own informed choices.
Our wonderful technical genius, Terry Young, created our extensive, third generation website, TheShopper.com, available online 24/7, with the stories, ads, gathering photos of neighbors at play and at work, plus charitable events and popular columns.
There are a number of long-running columns that appear in all issues. Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin has been a favorite for decades. Terry Young's Webworks and Up and Away educate us about the Internet and the latest in web development, and photography and video utilizing ground-based and drone technology and are awaited by techies and entrepreneurs alike.
Breonna Loxley's Visions of Youth column has increasing accolades and appeals to all ages. Her sage observations are usually offered by someone twice her age.
Betsy Patterson's Write Sense details handwriting elements that reveal abilities and preferences seen through one's handwriting. Fascinating!
Dr. Becky Adams is a favorite of anyone with children. The accomplished educator shares her exceptional insight into children's needs in Children First.
Certain to be a favorite is our newest column, writings from the "Grand Dame of Charleston" Nathalie Dupree, famous for her many cook books, but less well known for her fantastic columns. A Matter of Taste explores deep feelings highlighted in a setting surrounding food.
Other columns appear in specific areas and can be accessed online at TheShopper.com. Professional columns have been appreciated- the longest running dental column began in 1989 when the highly respected Brian Midgette, DDS began writing to educate Midgette Family Dentistry's patient population, which has grown exponentially.
The Korvings- a father/son pair, Arie and Stephen, enlighten their clients and neighbors with a continuing column on financial matters, appearing in the Suffolk and Western Branch/Churchland editions. The Korvings' firm was honored as the business of the year by the Chamber several years ago.
Southside Eye's ophthalmologist, Mike Keverline, MD provides Eye to Eye, with Theodore Hallberg, OD, sharing the writing. I have always loved Dr. Keverline's testimonial for us: "I advertise in The Shopper because I read The Shopper." It doesn't get better than that! And I am his fan also!
We are fortunate to have an estate planning column by attorney Linda Sherfey, The Estate Planning Solution, appearing almost everywhere. I had Linda do my estate plan, inspired by her columns, even though I am a procrastinator. I cannot recommend her important work enough.
Virginian Homes is written by Rebecca Bulkeley of Exit Realty and appears in the Kempsville Shopper. I first met Rebecca when she had listed the most well-known home in Kempsville! Who doesn't love reading about real estate!
Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed has a long established medical column offering tips and explanations from his long experience as a general practitioner in the Suffolk and Western Branch/Churchland issues. It is well received by his ever-expanding practice.
We have come to know and even love so many of our clients; they seem like neighbors! Angie and Peter Lowry have been in the top tier of Decorating Den Interiors, an international business, for decades, and we are delighted to watch them oversee franchises and columns in both Kempsville and Great Bridge while continuing to be the decorators to call in Smithfield, Suffolk and surrounds.
Columns, by respected professionals,
educate our readers on many topics
useful in their day-to-day lives
So many long term advertisers have sustained us through booming and post-crash eras, as we hope we have sustained them. Most of us are wiser now, knowing that booming years have their ebbing and post-crash years don't have to be the end all.
Our longest running advertiser is Jerry Harris Remodeling. Jerry started out with me at the printing counter getting business cards. He continued as he grew and flourished with his building accessible homes and the Case Handyman days, until now, appearing in the Great Bridge edition when, by popular demand, he has specialized in remodeling for thousands of clients, some of whom have used his services once, twice, maybe three times already, and swear by his ethics. Jerry used to write a very helpful and entertaining column for years. It took a lot of his time to write it, but I really miss his good humor and neighborly approach!
Another well-known remodeler, Barry Hobbs of Addition Associates, has been my personal client since the early nineties, turning beloved homes into larger family homes with additional master suites, new kitchens and baths, spectacular sunrooms. With an architectural education, Barry is known for making additions look like they were always there. Again, Barry is a remodeler sometimes called upon three times over many years! A true gentleman!
Photos from events and gatherings
of businesses and organizations
allow our readers to share in the
festivities and happenings
in their community
It is men like Barry Hobbs and Jerry Harris that have preserved our reputation. The word of either of these men is their bond. I am honored to bring these good and talented men to your attention.
There are so many more clients that I have not mentioned here. I have noted those who do columns and those who have been with me forever. Over this next year, we will highlight other great clients that we are proud to tell you more about.
In telling you my life adventure, one last category is so important- my team. I want to introduce the people who have and are continuing to make The Shopper Magazine reach 39 years.
While I am the only one here since 1981, Nikki Young has been with me 33 years and is our COO. She is the source of wise decisions and I hold her in the highest esteem. Her core value is fairness. And she is the epitome of fairness. If I ask her for her opinion, she will give it to me honestly. I value honesty above all else. Our entire team holds her in great respect.
Martha Frugard is our Senior Account Executive and quick to point out that the word senior relates to length of service, not age! Martha's quick wit and calm demeanor have served all of us well. She has sold more than anyone else over 22 years, being direct and honest with advertisers and keeping focused on not only our business, but theirs. She has helped train new account executives for many years, sometimes giving them an account that was hers to get them started. Her sense of humor is such that I have always told her that if she wanted to go into stand-up comedy, I would be her backer and we would all get rich. Martha is simply funny in everyday life, expressing what she sees with her fine-tuned sense of humor.
Two months after Martha started with The Shopper, we needed a bookkeeper. Her best friend, Julie Burley, came to us and has been our natural HR person. Now after 22 years with us, she is working part-time and finally enjoying time off while being here when we need her until her full retirement.
Almost sixteen years ago we hired Connie DiPrima as administrative assistant and she has been "running' ever since. Anything someone needs, Connie is there to help with, including doing some sales. There is very little that Connie cannot do and we don't yet know what those things are!
Fifteen years ago, we also hired Karah Angeli, a wonderful graphic designer who also became production manager. Karah designed the logo for the Rotary's Wine Festival, among other fabulous graphic creations. Her steady kind demeanor combines with her sense of organization and creativity to make her outstanding.
Five years ago, Jennifer Tolarchyk joined our graphics department. Both Jen and Karah have college degrees in graphics and their work is exceptional. Jennifer has triplets who just finished their first year of college. She is calm and deliberate and oh-so-talented!
Rob Lauer is our editor these last two years, after writing stories for us as a freelance writer for several years. He is also the on-air person for the City of Portsmouth's TV shows. Rob is one of Amazon's featured writers and sells his books online. He creates the treatments for and narrates client videos and also directs our book publishing department, guiding would-be authors through the process with our writers or working with their manuscripts. We are thrilled to announce that this editor is going to share more of his writing talents, which know no bounds. His initial offering this month is On The Porch With You. I can't wait. And next month we will introduce you to our freelance writers!
Terry Young of InternetMark.com is not only the technological genius who designed our websites- now in their third generation. He is also an expert videographer who does client videos with Rob Lauer.
This is the core group that will continue The Shopper into the fifth decade come year 40 and on. We look forward to an ever popular and expanding website, even now getting 100,000 hits a month.
Above all else, I thank our readers for telling our clients all the years, "I saw you in The Shopper." It has made all the difference, for almost 40 years!
133 Kempsville Road
Chesapeake, VA 23320