Meet our New Publisher of the Northern Rockies & Great Plains...
P.O. Box 688
Hot Springs, SD 57747
Our thanks to the former publisher...
How did I become involved with The Country Register?? There is an old saying: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” I had just retired and was finding idle time on my hands. Then the phone rang. It was my daughter, Carol Blodgett, and she had another great idea to share with me.
It seems Barbara Floyd was hoping to revive The Country Register in Montana and Northern Idaho and wanted a bid for printing such a paper. Carol worked at the Independent Record in Helena in Specialty Publications so the call was directed to her. Further discussion led to Barbara’s wanting to find a sales person in Montana or perhaps someone who would like to buy the rights to publish The Country Register and see if they could get it going again. There were former customers and Country Register fans who were asking for a paper again so that was the beginning of my story as the Publisher and the end to the chapter on retirement.
I have done very little quilting, and the bits that I have done were purely functional, but I have enjoyed embroidery, knitting and crocheting and a bit of scrapbooking. Did that qualify me to take on a publishing and sales role for a quilting, crafting newspaper? Probably not.
I had, however, run my own business, selling and sewing window coverings, so perhaps I was qualified from a business perspective. You know the two box system— money in one box; bills in the other. If there is money left after the bills, the business is successful. I had also worked for Lee Enterprises for several years as an inside salesperson so I was comfortable telemarketing and cold calling. Give me a list and a reason, and I got busy. I soon found that many of these establishments were very small, with little budget that they wanted to share with me, and great distances in between. At that time I had a driver, Bud, who was willing to travel with me to places unknown. I would personally call on many of the businesses and deliver our papers to anyone who was willing to share them with their customers. With the personal approach and perseverance on the telephone, our paper has grown and changed over the 3+ years that we have had it. The first big change was that Southern Idaho became available. Why not, we decided. Then Wyoming was available. Though there were plenty of square miles (approximately 327,000), there was not enough customer base to do three papers. So we merged the three into one, which has worked well for us. We have also moved the layout and design to Montana, which has improved that process for us.
I regret that I have not been able to meet all of my customers personally, but I would like to say that I have made some very good telephone friends/customers. I would like to share one such incident. I was having a bad day. The kid’s father was dying of cancer and it was hard for everyone. I still had to get the paper out so I was calling and calling. One customer heard the distress in my voice and said, “Stop, let me pray for you.” So, after her gracious prayer, we concluded our business, and I continued with my calls with a helping hand from above.
It is distressing to see many of the small businesses/advertisers closing. But it seems there are other businesses springing up who are willing to work hard to insure their customers have access to the materials they need in their own communities. For the most part, my advertisers are a great bunch of people—the kind I’d like to call my friends.
Retirement is certainly not boring since I have become the Publisher of The Country Register, Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. I am very thankful for that phone call that made it all possible.
Publisher of The Country Register Montana, Idaho and Wyoming
2118 39th Street, Missoula, MR 59803