Dear readers and advertisers,
It is bittersweet to write my last letter for the paper. As I approach my retirement date of April 30, 2021, I am preparing my staff as well as my community for the transition. On Feb. 1, 2021, I stepped down from my role as publisher and handed the reins over to my entrusted assistant publisher, Shawntae Webb.
For the past year, Shawntae has learned and acquired many of my responsibilities as publisher to make my departure as seamless as possible. I wanted her to fill the position of publisher before I leave to ensure that I can be here along every step of the way so that this transition will be smooth for everyone.
I’ve been in the newspaper business my entire life. When I was ten I had my own paper route. My family owned four local weekly newspapers including The Shopper out of Bellows Falls, which they started in 1961, and they were also part owners of The Message, which opened in 1972. I later relocated and started working for The Patriot Ledger in Boston in 1984. I moved on and purchased The Freeman’s Journal in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1986, and in 1998 I moved back to Vermont and maintained the family paper, The Shopper. In 2000 I started The Vermont Journal out of Waitsfield, and in 2005 I moved the operation of The Vermont Journal and The Shopper into one office at our current location in Ludlow, Vt.
Of all of the positions I’ve held in the newspaper industry, I’ve cherished being a salesman the most. I have enjoyed getting to know all of my customers, and I’ve gained many friendships and connections along the way. I was born and raised in Bellows Falls, but when I moved the company to Ludlow, this community has also become my home.
I’ve seen so many things evolve over the years, including the way the paper is put together. When I first started out in this industry, we built ads with paper, calligraphy pens, and white out. Today, everything is all computerized and much more efficient. Businesses have also been evolving over my time. I have countless memories working with so many great people. I’ve worked with multiple generations of families and companies. Businesses have come and gone, but others are still operating with the next generation of family members, carrying on their name and values.
I know that The Vermont Journal and The Shopper are in good hands with Shawntae. She graduated from Champlain College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, and has been designing our ads and laying out the paper for over five years. She has worked her way up the ladder here from a designer, to the graphic director, to the assistant publisher. She has built relationships with many of our advertisers, helped to revamp our website and Facebook, and has shown strong leadership skills as she has fulfilled many of my roles here at the paper, preparing her for her new position of publisher.
I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my paper. Whether you have worked at the office, advertised in the paper, read the paper, submitted press releases or information, or supported us with donations during this difficult time with the Covid-19 pandemic, your involvement has made my venture worthwhile. You were all a part of my successes, and I will remember all of you.
In my retirement, I plan to sit back, relax, play golf, ski, and enjoy my time, knowing the newspaper will carry on.
Thank you all,