Beverly Hills, FL–When I first conceived of owning and operating a newspaper, I never thought it would be confined only to Citrus County. My idea was a simple one — provide local news with a conservative bias that wouldn’t rely on any third-party feeds, such as the Associated Press or Reuters. I thought that the idea could spread into surrounding counties so I named it the Suncoast Standard.
My idea was simple enough to work if we could coax enough people to come forward and volunteer for such a cause.
In Citrus County, with only one newspaper option for several years, many volunteers came forward. They were passionate about having a conservative newspaper outlet and they met weekly even if that meant coming straight to one of our meetings from a job without freshening up or eating. They met with my wife and I in restaurants and in our home until we found our first wave of advertising partners that enabled us to have our Inverness storefront location.
After paying for our City of Inverness business license, and discovering that the City of Inverness holds ribbon-cutting ceremonies, we rushed to bring dozens of local businesses together in less than two weeks time to have an innovative ribbon-cutting ceremony that resembled a mini-Taste of Inverness. We had 70 people attend our ribbon-cutting. We had representatives from city and county governments in attendance. And, with the help of Pastor Doug Alexander, we prayed to God, and asked Him to watch over our business.
We surprised many people. We survived and then we thrived.
We shared our goal to go to twice-a-month newsprint operations and we’ve achieved our goal.
Now, we have our eyes on becoming a weekly newsprint operation by as early as August, by our one-year anniversary. And, if we get enough support, we will accomplish that goal, as well.
Many believed that we would pack it in after the 2016 political season was over. We not only kept at it, we grew, and we grew rapidly.
A few months ago, Aunt Martha’s Produce Stand in Floral City, was our only retailer. Now, we have over 150 newsstand locations in four counties. We can be found in Publix, Wal-Mart, CVS, Dollar General, Cumberland Farms, Circle K, RaceTrac, Speedway, and Sunoco, as well as scores of Mom-and-Pop business locations.
And, I can insure our readers, our volunteers, and our supporters, that we will go further.
We have developed a modern, easy-to-use website that provides FREE access to visitors, that provides news, commentary, and an opportunity to publicly discuss relevant issues, but also offers special discounts to our readers on everything from car purchases, to roofing jobs, to gym memberships.
We are working on getting newspaper boxes in high-traffic, high-visibility areas, near our favorite eateries, common places, and neighborhood community centers.
We are now in 4 counties. And now, more than ever, we need the help of additional volunteers. We need writers, distributors, proof readers, cold callers, editorial board members, and specific county managing news directors.
For way too long, those of us, who cared about our communities, who wanted to know local news, who cared about law enforcement and the rule of law, was forced to consume news from outlets that over-relied on the Associated Press or were liberal or in collusion with special interests.
Now, you have a choice.
By advertising with us, ordering a subscription, volunteering, or simply buying a paper, you are supporting the Suncoast Standard and the notion that a regional newspaper can focus on local news with a conservative bias.
The Suncoast Standard is now a regional newspaper serving 4 counties. We have been blessed by our volunteers, readers, and supporters. After reading this editorial, please consider joining our team.
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By: Lou Newman, CEO and Publisher
Suncoast Standard (c) 5/7/2017 at 3:31 AM. All rights reserved.