October 28, 2005

A look back, a look ahead

We’re here to stay.

That message, conveyed in my first column on this page in October 1995, carried two purposes: to relate our determination to succeed in the business-publishing arena in the face of intense competition, and to reassure would-be advertisers who couldn’t decide which of a handful of new business publications would survive.

The confidence evident in that message was real, but it was mixed with some trepidation. This newspaper was born at the very best possible time, as communities of Northern Colorado were beginning to realize that their fates were tied together. Businesses were beginning to expand from one community to another. Local organizations in Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland were beginning to forge ties.

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A business publication that realized the importance of those regional dynamics could become a powerful force to help bring business, economic, community and governmental forces together. And, as the regional economy prospered, so would our regional newspaper.

On the other hand, this publication started at the worst possible time. Four other business publications either existed or were prepared to launch. In addition, at least two other major publishing companies had evaluated the market, and we weren’t sure what one of them, Gannett Co., publisher of the Fort Collins Coloradoan, would do.

Not that we didn’t have enough to worry about in the months leading up to our first publication date.

On the day that I gave notice as managing editor of The Denver Business Journal, I learned that Lehman Communications, publishers of the Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, Longmont Daily Times-Call, Cañon City Daily Record and other publications, was planning its own Northern Colorado business newspaper. The next day, I learned that Joe Lewandowski, former business editor for the Coloradoan, was meeting with the region’s business leaders about his own plans for a business journal. Business World, a Fort Collins business magazine that had existed for several years, was expanding its reach to all of Larimer County.

Nonetheless, we forged ahead, determined not to let our dream die. But more competitive news was to come. As my partner, Jeff Nuttall, and I attended our first Business After Hours event in Loveland, we learned that Loveland businessman Duke Thompson was planning his own publication, Business Edition.

Four competitors, with more possibly on the way.

It did make for some sleepless nights as we prepared to move our pregnant wives and young sons to Northern Colorado.

But move them we did. Our early days seem little more than a blur now, as we sat on folding chairs in our first offices in the attic of the OneWest Art Center in downtown Fort Collins. We hired as small a staff as we possibly could, including two salespeople: Mark Bradley, now with Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services Inc.’s Greeley office, and Joe Mivshek, a friend and former sales rep at The Denver Business Journal; Jo Ann Drago, our first receptionist/office manager/bookkeeper; Dana Coffield, our first reporter, now a reporter/editor with The Denver Post; Carol Wood, who researched our first lists and wrote stories even as she was preparing to give birth to our daughter; Deanna Estes, a part-time production assistant; and David Badders, our first production manager, who to this day remains one of the best illustrators and graphic artists that I’ve ever known. He now works for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Good people, all. And that’s really been the key over the months and years that followed. As our worthy competition faded away, we continued to hire individuals who made outstanding contributions to our company. Of course, there were mistakes along the way – not only in hiring but also in other business areas – but the good always outweighed the bad.

And so, as we look forward a decade to our 20th anniversary, Jeff and I thank those employees who have done so much to help us succeed during our first 10 years. We thank our hundreds of advertisers. We thank our vendors. We thank our partners at the Boulder County Business Report who were so instrumental in our ability to survive the lean years. And we thank you, our readers, for your support, your feedback, your tips and your critiques.

This is your newspaper. We’re just along for the ride.

Christopher Wood can be reached at (970) 221-5400, (970) 221-5432 or via e-mail at cwood@ncbr.com. His fax number is (970) 221-5432.

We’re here to stay.

That message, conveyed in my first column on this page in October 1995, carried two purposes: to relate our determination to succeed in the business-publishing arena in the face of intense competition, and to reassure would-be advertisers who couldn’t decide which of a handful of new business publications would survive.

The confidence evident in that message was real, but it was mixed with some trepidation. This newspaper was born at the very best possible time, as communities of Northern Colorado were beginning to realize that their fates were tied together. Businesses were beginning to expand from one community…

Christopher Wood
Christopher Wood is editor and publisher of BizWest, a regional business journal covering Boulder, Broomfield, Larimer and Weld counties. Wood co-founded the Northern Colorado Business Report in 1995 and served as publisher of the Boulder County Business Report until the two publications were merged to form BizWest in 2014. From 1990 to 1995, Wood served as reporter and managing editor of the Denver Business Journal. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder. He has won numerous awards from the Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and the Alliance of Area Business Publishers.
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