I remember how stressed both of us, my wife Brenda and I, had been part way through the second quarter of 2016 and not seeing much of an increase in business. In fact, it was a very tough year that came on the heels of two difficult years before it. I was skipping paying our wages so we could pay other bills and did some incredible juggling to get through.
By the time I was convinced there was no bouncing back, I knew there was no choice. The weight just lifted off of both of us when the date was decided for our final issue – July 26, 2016. We print the day before the actual paper date so it was all coming to an end on Monday, July 25, 2016. The trip to the print shop in Penticton was different. I think we both felt relieved.
I have had several times to look back and reflect on what we did when we were in business. I think we had a solid product that told the news without a lot of drama or sensationalization. We took a particular path and followed it throughout the 18.5 years of publication. It was the path I took the paper in the 12.5 years I owned it as well. I wanted integrity and truth on our pages.
To this day – and I’ve said this repeatedly – we still have people telling us they miss our paper. This still happens on average once a week. It has made the transition a bit easier as a result. What I did not expect was to bring the brand back to life earlier this month in connection with a wildfire that was burning 10-kilometres North of the community.
It felt good to be doing something again with our product even if it was just online and just for a couple of weeks. In a way it reminded me that I’ll always have a connection within the local media community. It also reminded me that our style of telling the news is still an effective way to get the word out without a lot of additional fluff or filler that can cloud the message.
So, what have we been doing otherwise? Well, Brenda has continued working on her home-based canning and preserving business called JamBusters! She has added several new products to her inventory and has continued to be excited about vending those items at various markets and craft fairs throughout the year. It has been a lot of fun for both of us, actually.
As for me, I’m still writing a lot as part of my home-based freelance writing business. I have a couple of ongoing contracts that are long-term and high volume. With that I have several smaller contracts and am also picking up a lot of one-time jobs. What this basically means is I have enough writing work to fill five or six full days per week. I am enjoying it a great deal.
I do miss many things about the newspaper business. However, the reality is that a year after closing the doors to our business we are well into our new careers. It was a lot of work, and although we are probably as busy now as we were then, it doesn’t feel as if it is work. I suppose that is the main indicator of where we are now and probably why it doesn’t seem like a year has passed.