Citizen at 35: Advertisers turn to 'Citizen' to support community
BY DENNY SCOTT
While stories and photos are an important part of any newspaper, The Citizen included, there is a third, and just as important part of the paper that proves every week people are reading: advertising.
Over the past 35 years, The Citizen’s staff have had the honour and privilege of letting people know what’s going on not only in the news, but in the businesses and organizations around the community through advertising and partnerships. To mark the 35th anniversary, The Citizen turned to some of the long-time advertisers and asked what kind of impact advertising has had on their organizations and businesses.
Matt Townsend of M.G.M. Townsend Tire says that what initially drew the company to advertising in The Citizen is what’s kept it going for years: the fact that it is truly a small-town newspaper.
“That’s the biggest part,” he said. “The people that read it, the people that advertise in it and the people that work for The Citizen are customers, and that kind of reciprocation is important in small towns.”
Townsend said that, for over 26 years, the company has turned to The Citizen for advertising not just because it’s geographically close, but because of the quality of the publication.
“Obviously it’s one of the most bustling newspapers around, we know that for sure,” he said. “It could even be the best in midwestern Ontario. We know that, between the readership and subscriptions, that are far better than other papers, we are getting a great value for what we give.”
The Townsend family and the business have also been featured in the paper with special milestones like a recent expansion in the business and its anniversary celebrations.
“We’re always surprised at the number of people at those events, and surprised at who turns out,” he said. “We credit it to advertising with the local paper.”
MCDONALD’S HOME HARDWARE
McDonald’s Home Hardware in Brussels has been around, in one fashion or another, for far longer than The Citizen. The business recently celebrated its 90th anniversary, and Jennifer McDonald, who runs the business alongside the rest of her family, said the local support is what makes them a success and what makes their partnership with The Citizen a logical one.
“We stay with The Citizen because it’s our local newspaper and people still rely on the local paper and read it for their information,” she said. “We want to be a part of the community, and The Citizen seems to be where the community gets its news.”
She said The Citizen’s involvement in events like the store’s recent anniversary is an important service to offer, recognizing the importance of long-standing businesses in the community.
The McDonald family have a collection of advertisements going back years, Jennifer said, that have been in The Citizen. She said that looking back and reflecting on those old advertisements helps to remember the past and show how things were.
The Brussels Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion and The Citizen have had a long-standing relationship since branch member Jo-Ann McDonald took over the Public Relations Officer (PRO) position for the Branch years ago.
“I became the PRO at the branch and shortly after attended a seminar about how to keep what was going on at the Legion in front of people,” she said. “Another PRO said they wrote a column in their local paper, so I thought that would be a good idea.
It wasn’t long before McDonald was penning “At the Branch”, which appears on the Brussels page of the paper, which is traditionally page 6.
“I started to do the column and, because we were doing more activities, we had to advertise what we’re doing.”
McDonald said that advertising was the way to get local people involved in programs at the Legion like fish fry dinners, dances, card games, Cadet meetings and the Brussels Pipe Band.
“If people don’t know how to come and join up, they can’t take part,” she said. “Putting it in the paper shows people who to contact.”
She said that, once she became PRO, announcing events in the newspaper became the standard, and the relationship between the Brussels Branch and The Citizen helped to make sure that events were well-covered and well-attended.
HURON FEEDING SYSTEMS
Jacquie Waechter of Huron Feeding Systems says the reasons her company advertises in The Citizen today is the same reason they started: community support.
“We started to help support a local business and to reach out to our local farmers, all within a half hour of here,” she said. “The reason we stay with The Citizen is to support a local business and the other businesses around.”
Waechter said that having a physical newspaper is something her family enjoys, especially a newspaper that’s local. She said that people save copies of the paper, especially special sections like The Citizen’s annual sports and farm sections, in which Huron Feeding Systems typically participates.
“It gets our name out and shows that we’re a part of the community,” she said, adding that people keep the special editions for years after they’ve been printed. “We’re in front of readers all the time thanks to that.”