By Clint Parker
Every year I think this will be the last year we’re in print. I don’t know if you know it or not, but the newspaper business has been a little rough the last few years, and, I view every year we’re able to continue in print a gift from God.
We have a unique niche in the local print world, filling a need for hyper-local content to those who still care about what’s going on in their backyards. Yet, many people are happy with not knowing the details of their community. This, in my opinion, is a shame as this newspaper’s purpose was and is to tell the story of the community to bring it closer together, and that’s what we continue to try and do.
While our circulation has remained pretty steady over the years, the readers who remember to drop the cost of the paper in the coin tubes at the stands have fallen off. So while the paper gets out, the amount of money meant to pay for the distribution is having to be subsidized more and more. Such is the newspaper business.
We are celebrating our 16th year in publication this month. It was about this time in 2003, we put out our first issue of the newspaper. Back then we were free and we didn’t worry about the money, but as we grew and wanted to be able to take legal notices, we had to go to a paid publication. We actually have subscribers who are almost as old as our newspaper. We are very appreciative of our subscribers who pay an annual fee for the delivery of the newspaper through the postal service.
I may have mentioned before I’ve started three newspapers in the area. The Mountain Sentinel, a monthly publication that ran from 1995 to about 2000. The Madison County Sentinel, a weekly that started in 1999 and bought out the 100-plus-year-old News-Record in the 2000s (about a month after I sold my interest in the paper), which still continues today. And The Weaverville Tribune/Leicester Leader in 2003. By far, I’m more invested in this newspaper than any of the others.
The Tribune has a variety of offices in the area since we started in 2003. First in my house in West Asheville and then sharing an office with Sluder Oil on Garrison Branch. From there we moved to an office on the second floor Business Center on South Main Street in Weaverville owned by the Day Company. Boy, were we tightly squeezed into that one-room office where we tried, at times, to fit three people in that little room.
From there we moved behind Preservation Hall at 115 North Main Street and spent several years. While a larger space, it was also an older space. When the wind blew, it would leave a fine layer of black particles all over the place. I finally figured out that those black particles were black walnut dust from where the squirrels were storing the nuts in the ceiling and eating them.
Eventually, after I found out I could get a brand new office with an executive washroom and conference room for fifty more bucks out-of-pocket per month we moved to Reynolds Village in Woodfin. Everything in Weaverville was priced too high, and since we’d started the Leicester version of the Weaverville Tribune, better known as the Leicester Leader, the new office location seemed like an excellent central location. We’ve been here ever since.
I hope that we can continue to provide the community with a quality publication that will serve to inform readers and record the history if the area like no other news media currently does.
I remember one older woman who came into my office one day back when our offices were off Main Street. She showed me a folder full of articles about her granddaughter she had clipped over the years from our newspaper. I was glad we were there to record those life events for her family. I also look forward and hope we can continue to do the same for the families of the area. Thanks for reading my ramblings about our 16 years in business. Also, thanks a lot for those 16 years, as without you we wouldn’t be here!