The year 2020 will go down as one of the most memorable years in modern history. And it has been a challenging couple of months for businesses. Each business owner I have talked to has had their own set of challenges. Senior Perspective has been no different. We continue to “weather the storm.”
I would like to use my column this month to do two things — first, to let readers know what we have been doing; and second, to thank both our readers and advertisers for their support during this challenging time.
In mid to late March, when things started changing rapidly, I had a lot questions and concerns. Will I be able to publish the newspaper? Will advertisers panic and stop advertising? Will we be able to deliver the paper with so many closed businesses? After the initial period of unknowns, some of those questions were answered, eventually.
The first big concern for us was losing advertisers. And we did lose some advertisers, many were linked to events and restaurants. Others that were forced to close were left no choice but to suspend advertising. That was the bad news. The good news is the bulk of our advertisers stuck with us, and expressed their confidence in our paper. And nearly all of those that pulled their advertising have indicated they will be back when the dust settles on this whole thing. A sincere thank you to all of our advertisers!
The next concern and challenge was delivery. As you may or may not know, we have an elaborate delivery system that covers over half of Minnesota (and part of North Dakota) and includes about 30 drivers. Our regular delivery list includes more than 3,200 locations. What do you do when about half of those are closed?
Well, this was our approach. We quickly edited our delivery sheets so more papers were going to the places that were still open, including grocery stores, convenience stores, hardware stores, liquor stores, bakeries, meat markets, etc. And we also looked for new locations in certain communities if we determined that people in that community didn’t have enough locations. All the while, we continued to get the papers to people in senior apartments, senior living facilities and any other safe spots. In the end, the number of papers printed was reduced a bit, as we knew that fewer people would be out and about.
To help get the papers to more people who might not be able to go out and get one, we offered a special subscription plan, and we also set up a free digital download area on our web page so people could find it there, too.
All these delivery methods were set in motion at the end of March. Delivery always takes a few days to complete. After the first day of delivery, we started to realize that the plan was going to work. There were emails of thanks from people who found the paper that were worried we wouldn’t print. People were asking for extra copies so they could drop them off with friends/family. Some businesses also stepped up to help us out. Several banks took our paper and handed them out to customers through their drive up window and some restaurant owners agreed to hand out the paper to customers who came for pick up orders. It was a real team effort a lot of people stepped up in a lot of communities to get the papers to the people who wanted them.
At the same time, the number of subscriptions we received jumped! We have never had as many subscriptions come into our office in a 3-week period. It was phenomenal. I also checked the analytics on our online version of the paper and that also jumped quickly. By the 15th of April, stores were reporting that most or all of their papers were gone. Our goal was to get a paper to everyone who wanted it, and I think we came about as close as we could to this goal.
People were thirsting for good news, and they were thirsting for something normal in their regular routine. We had it for them, and that was a very satisfying thing to be part of.
Thank you to all the advertisers, all the readers, our drivers and all those who assisted in getting the papers out to people last month, this month and the months ahead. The last two months have been a wild ride. Thanks for supporting and helping us through the storm.
I hope you and your family are doing well and staying safe. Better days are surely coming.
Honoring our fallen soldiers
Typically in the May edition, we have our “Heroes Remembered” special section to honor fallen soldiers. Due to the chaotic nature of last month, we opted to postpone this edition until the June edition. Since the June edition is distributed just a couple days after Memorial Day, we thought this would be OK.
If you would like to honor a loved one (family/friend) who fought and died in battle, or served and has since passed away, please fill out the form on Page 7 and send it in. We are charging $20 for each soldier tribute and all that money is donated to Eagle’s Healing Nest, a nonprofit organization that helps treat soldiers who suffer from the unvisible wounds of serving our country.