When the idea was tossed around about a special publication to celebrate 50 years in business, no one here guessed it would receive the support it has.
People wanted in.
Instead of just a modest remembrance recognizing this business milestone, readers are being presented this week with a fantastic tribute in addition to their community Newspaper.
One concern expressed by our editor was that such a large feature might be viewed as pretentious or boastful. Those certainly are not qualities our organization finds appealing.
Yet after reading what has been written, I think readers will be interested and pleased – I certainly was.
A number of years ago at our staff Christmas party I asked our salesman Mac Mason to say grace. Yes, our firm still gives thanks and it’s generally a non-denominational welcome for our staff and guests before dinner.
Between attending Knox Presbyterian, coaching Sports and his time on the Legion executive, Mac was able to verbalize something few could or ever bother to do.
It went something like “it doesn’t matter what job you have here; if you mop the floors or report or stuff Newspapers you are valued and appreciated.”
The sentiment rang as true then as it does now – everyone in our organization plays a role and has a contribution to make each and every week.
Over the years, we have had the privilege of employing dozens of people and each and every one of them added something to our organization.
With celebrations come memories
Dad and I are still best buddies. On a little road trip recently, we got talking about the anniversary.
I was trying to get out of him how he felt about it all. I suggested reaching the 50 year mark wasn’t like winning a race and we could relax a bit – it’s just a new starting point. He could see that, but did propose that I probably had no idea how rough it was starting out. I had a few glimpses.
Dad ran a lot of roads in his life. One such occasion I was along for the ride. It was a day off school and this was back in the days when take your kid to work day meant the kid actually had to work.
In the wee hours of the next day, another edition was put to bed as they say. We struck off to Durham to hand deliver it to the printer. Internet wasn’t even thought about back then.
On the way back the ‘75 Chrysler Newport, full of old papers and book work, took a quick swing to the shoulder just south of Mount Forest. I was half asleep, having stayed with dad through the night putting the paper together.
Startled, I looked over and he said “Dad needs to close his eyes for a bit.” It wasn’t long and we were back on the road.
While that one was being printed and getting ready for delivery, the next issue was underway.
It’s a cycle that never stopped – even now.
Last week, on April 4, we held our open house at the Wellington County Museum and Archives.
It was great to see some former staff drop by for a visit.
We have always been lucky to have dedicated people working for us and their best wishes all these years later were heartwarming.
For our current staff, the event was a little bit of an eye opener. As one employee mentioned to me, “I was always proud to work here, but the event made me feel it even more.” People had such great things to say.
From our extended family to neighbours to longtime supporters, advertisers, politicians and local business people – it was an enviable crowd full of friends.
The cynical old Kaiser arrived from his current headquarters in Chatham. (I suppose it is okay to divulge his office nickname now that he is retired).
Dave Meyer showed up and seemed to step back into reporter mode fairly quickly, pouncing on politicians and interrogating them on their latest activities.
We travelled a lot of road together and he wound up a trusted friend.
Probably 20 years ago he came up with a line that “the best a politician could hope for was begrudging respect.” That could well be a line from one of the thousands of books he has read in his life, but it resonated with me and is worth repeating.
That adage of begrudging respect could apply equally to the very public role a community Newspaper and its staff play in a community.
By any measure, dignitaries at the museum brought greetings from their municipal, provincial, federal and Senate chambers – and there was nothing begrudging about it.
It was genuine. It was moving. It was appreciated. Many of those comments are published elsewhere in this special edition.
More about people
Our business relies on advertising. It’s as simple as that.
People supporting our enterprise help us deliver an entertaining, informative Newspaper each week.
There is a cost to this and thanks to shopkeepers, business people, associations and local governments, Wellington County is served with a Newspaper that is the envy of neighbouring communities.
One of the funnier calls we get with regularity is from a new homeowner looking to subscribe to the Advertiser, believing they are benefiting from the old owner’s paper still arriving at their door. Newcomers rely on us to get up to speed on their new hometown.
Over the past 50 years we have helped promote events and causes with free or heavily discounted advertising. We help where we can because we know these activities make our communities stronger.
All of this activity is pulled together each week by our people. Today we have the good fortune of having the largest Newsroom, graphics department and only surviving mailroom in this region.
We have 44 people dedicated and interested in doing a great job for our advertisers and readers each week.
That’s something Dad never would have imagined five decades ago as he ran the operation from the front seat of his car.
We’ve come a long way – and it’s all thanks to our people.