This marks a milestone anniversary of the little hometown publishing company that has brought you Wrangler News these past 20-plus years. While it’s like any such occasion that comes and goes without much fanfare, this particular one somehow seemed more special than the others, and deserving of at least passing mention.
For those who recall the early days of Wrangler News, or Warner Wrangler as it was called then, it should be no surprise that things have changed a lot. Compared to the 2,000 first editions delivered by friends and family on foot, driveway-to-driveway, on one of the hottest August days on record, we now have regular auto-route carriers who distribute 20,000 newspapers every other Saturday throughout the year.
And where the cost of printing color pictures and ads pushed them way out of our price range (just a few years later we paid $600 for a single, page-one color photo, our first), we’re now able to display color on every single page.
One thing has remained the same, though, and that’s the commitment we made in our very first edition to bring you news about “your neighbors, your schools, your churches and, of course, the businesses you rely on every day for your shopping and service needs.” The headline across the top of the front page announced “A first: News with a neighborhood flavor.”
Although we’ve never used any of the readily available surveying techniques to sample our readership, we know from word of mouth, from people who visit our office, from those we meet having lunch in a local restaurant or walking our dogs around the block, Wrangler News is an integral part of many people’s lives.
One of our advertising reps, Patrick Bonitatibus, dropped by to say hello to the owner of a newly opened business, whose first words were “thank you” for the almost 50 customers he said had shown up as a result of an article we ran about him and his plans for the future.
That happens a lot these days, and encourages us to keep doing business the way we always have: local news about local people; stories our readers can identify with; advertising for merchants who know their patrons as neighbors, not just customers.
While we’d like to pat ourselves on the back for what we’ve been able to accomplish, we know that it’s really you—those who read our paper as well as those who use our pages to market their products and services—who are responsible for our continuing growth.
Back in 2007, Phoenix magazine surprised and delighted us by selecting Wrangler News as “the Valley’s Best Community Newspaper.” Although it would have been easy to accept that accolade and rest on our laurels, we considered it a mandate to try even harder, which we do every day.
We hope you’ll continue to send us your comments, your ideas, your stories and, whenever you have them, your gripes about anything we haven’t done or haven’t done right.
To all of those who have supported our efforts, please accept our sincere thanks on the occasion of this milestone which, as it turns out, deserved a little fanfare after all.