By now you have all read the news that Karen and I have sold the Valley Record to Horvitz Newspapers. The decision process for us had its ups and downs, likely very similar to the process of
a child leaving home. The one catch here that’s different is that one
parent, myself, will be going with the child.
The Valley Record was an interesting endeavor for us nearly five
years ago. Karen had been working for her dad, Robert “Bob” Scott, who had
been the publisher for several years prior to that. One day, Bob, Sandie, Karen
and I got on the subject of owning a small business and how much I envied
guys like Kyle Riley, the former owner of Kyle’s furniture in Snoqualmie.
Kyle would get up, head to the Railroad Café (also gone), then open the
furniture store, sell furniture, maybe do some deliveries, head to lunch at the
Railroad Café (Hey, it was close by) then head home at closing time, maybe
delivering a sofa or chair on the way. I thought, “Wow, that’s a great job, working in
the same community in which you lived.” To a guy who had to drive to Boeing
in Renton every day, the idea of a five-minute drive seemed pretty good.
Over several months, that dream became reality and in February of
1996, we bought the newspaper. Deep in competition with another newspaper
— chain-owned, with color and flashy graphics — we rolled up our sleeves
and went to work.
So what did we do? Well, we listened. You said you wanted more
sports, which we added diligently (with a minority commenting that it was too
much). We added pages, thanks to the great advertisers of the Valley, and we
added more news and community information. We worked on our photo skills,
switching to computers for scanning and halftones rather than that old, messy,
chemical process, which I could never get right.
With these changes, circulation started to climb and advertisers,
realizing our commitment to them and to the Valley, started to advertise more. We
got involved in everything and loved every minute of it.
But alas, the decision came. The market was right and there were
many offers. We also had to think of our time with our family, a process that
everyone goes through, especially when you realize the kids will only be home
for a few more years.
Despite the concerns many readers may have that their newspaper is
falling into the hands of corporate America, rest assured, we will be here to
see that this newspaper only gets better. One of the factors that swayed our
decision in their direction was the investment they were willing to make.
Heck, they closed one newspaper, realizing it couldn’t compete, so there was
an original loss of investment. And now they have purchased the Record,
another huge investment. In addition, we will be installing new computers,
adding some staff, adding some color and making improvements to an
already great product. All of which will provide you with more news, sports and
But one thing that is extremely important to us is the residents and
small businesses of the Snoqualmie Valley. Without you, we never could have
improved to the levels that the newspaper has achieved. We have made so
many good friends through the newspaper, and will continue to cherish those
So now the details: What will it mean for your newspaper? First,
things that have worked will remain the same. We plan on having James and
Lynnae continue their columns (as long as I don’t have to pull teeth). Our
columnists will continue to provide you a glimpse into Valley life each week.
We will continue to publish all the small articles on local sporting
teams and community organizations, as those are the kinds of things that make
this a great newspaper.
We will continue to provide in-depth news and sports, and plan on
adding some staff in these areas to provide even better coverage.
Our classifieds will merge with those of Northwest Media, providing
10 times the visibility for your goods and services. We will be able to
provide improved advertising opportunities for local businesses, taking advantage
of our relationship with the Eastside Journal.
But the newspaper that you have subscribed to that has been a pillar
of this community will remain relatively the same. If, for some reason, it
isn’t what you expected, by all means, give me a call.
Again, Karen and I want to thank you, our readers and advertisers, for
five great years. We also want to thank our great employees who have given
of themselves for this product. But stay tuned, the best is yet to come.