Thank God. Literally. Seriously. Thank God it’s done. And thank God we all survived.
We’ve grown accustomed to the weekly glitches and bumps along our path to getting out this weekly paper. Every week it’s something. Last week, we had about a year’s worth of those “somethings.” From computer freezes to septic freezes, and illness, accidents and hospitalizations. Both the newspaper and the Progress Issue itself had to be reprinted. The final bunch go out this week, with this paper.
Even now that it’s all done, we’re still experiencing fallout from the now infamous 2013 Progress Issue. (For instance, this column has now been written twice, as the first draft literally vanished into thin, digital air. I’d better touch wood; I’m not finished with it yet.)
I’ve often said that I’d much prefer to spend three weeks on each weekly paper. But I wouldn’t get very far, would I? Given the option, I would have liked to have several months to get the Progress Issue out. But, alas, we live in the real world, and know that just wasn’t gonna happen.
That said, there are some things that could have been done better, or more.
This was the first Progress Issue we’ve done. We’ve put together Business Issues before, where the focus is on local business but without a particular theme. We’ve certainly put out other themed special sections like the graduation booklet, the 125th anniversary of the train, and even the annual Resource Guide; all with a specific purpose.
A Progress Issue focuses on communities and their businesses and organizations, specifically on what has changed or improved in the past year.
This year, especially, the Progress Issue was very important as it highlights much of what each of our communities have to offer.
All too often, it would be easy to “blink and you miss” our towns as you drive through them. But there’s so much more to our communities than what one can see at first. There is a rich and deep community of local businesses: our friends and neighbors and, often, family, who work incredibly hard to serve their customers. Those of us who own a small business in a small town understand the challenges in being successful in that endeavor. Not everyone does. Here’s the key: If you want to be able to buy a gallon of milk, or a couple of fresh steaks, or some flowers or a gift, without having to spend an hour driving and an extra $6-10 in gas, then SHOP LOCAL. By shopping locally, your money stays close to home. You are supporting (literally) your local businesses and their families and employees and their families.
The best way to attract new businesses (and families) to our communities is to have strong local businesses here already. And the only way for that to happen, regardless of the economy, is for local people to shop in local stores and businesses.
I don’t think we explained the whole idea of a Progress Issue very well as we approached businesses to be included in it. And I know we didn’t explain it at all in the Progress Issue itself; we just ran out of time.
There’s always next year.
Yes, we’ll do it again next year. It will be a calmer and easier process then. (Please, God?) We’ve already begun the process for the 2014 Progress Issue, making sure we avoid the pitfalls that are avoidable, and are better ready to face the ones that are not.
Please keep sending us your updates for the paper, whether it be for your business, organization or school. Our readers (that is, YOU) love to read them throughout the year. And next year’s Progress Issue will summarize many of them within its pages.
Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy the 2013 Progress Issue, no matter when or how you received it. And we hope that there is a little bit of mercy out there for us in the less-than-flawless way it came through.
Truth be told, there were many MANY more things that went right with the Progress Issue than went wrong.
It is an amazing paper, because we have outstanding businesses in wonderful communities. God has blessed us all incredibly to be able to live and work – and shop – here!
P.S. There are a number of stories and photos and more that are in the “works.” We can’t fit everything this week, but it will be coming. Meanwhile, we’re stocking up on our Vitamin C, getting some rest finally, and gearing up for a whole new month ahead of us. As always, thank you for your support and kind words along the way. That is what bolsters us from one week to the next!