As an optimistic entrepreneur, I face forward while seizing the day. But, I as I write this on the morning of our big celebration celebrating 35 years in business, I can't help but look back as well.
In June of 1981, I purchased Great Bridge Press Printing with an eye toward a publication. In November of 1981, we launched the Great Bridge Shopper. Since then, "We have come a long way baby." (One of my favorite lines, along with "We're not getting older, we're getting better!")
It is time to stand still for a moment and review!
Here are my findings:
1. I did not do this alone.
Today, 16 people make up our team. Nine of us have been a team from one decade to three. I may have envisioned the cart, but everyone on the team has been pulling it up the hill for all these years. I have been the person sitting in the wagon for a long time now.
2. We get to complete so many magazines in just a month's time - 10 of The Shopper Magazines and a Main Street - The Business Magazine every month, plus Doctor To Doctor Magazine twice a year. It is so gratifying to produce so many publications, constantly improving. Even I do not know how we manage to do it. It is a great ride!
And there are more magazines to come!
3. Our team is just a third of the equation. The other two are our clients and our readers.
Our clients honor us with their faith, some trusting us with all their advertising, all trusting us with their success.
Our readers make everything possible. For all these years, our readers have told our clients that they found them in our magazine(s) and told us they read from cover to cover. I cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel for your encouragement and loyalty.
In June of 1981, I purchased
Great Bridge Press Printing with
an eye toward a publication. In
November of 1981, we launched the
Great Bridge Shopper. Since then,
"We have come a long way baby."
4. Neighbors still want to do business with neighbors! I believe that will always be true and remain a significant part of shopping. I call it the "Hey Norm!" effect (from the Cheers TV phenomenon).
5. Value is more important than price in the long run. I never wanted to be the cheapest advertising vehicle; I wanted - and still want - to be the best.
6. Noblesse Oblige. A life well lived - in both personal and business families - is about making the world a better place. That begins with each of us.
And, finally... I'm very glad I did not take the easy road and become part of bigger companies that honored me with their interest. But, having said that, if Warren Buffet ever calls - now that he is into buying publications - I would dash out to Omaha to collaborate! He is my hero. A man of great integrity, genius, philanthropy, and good humor. I'm so thankful he believes in hometown publications also! With him, we could be in hometowns all across this magnificent country, my original dream.
However, as it is now, having hired team members who are better than I am at so many things, they may take this business all the way! And for me, I look forward to our 40th Anniversary in five years that I know will fly by.
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.
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