Creativity is vital for survival

Published 9:16 pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Like many of my fellow journalists, I jumped into the newspaper business at a time of transition. Print papers were finding their revenue sucked up by other media and readers demanded more for less. It led to the shuttering of quite a few papers.

The ones that survived, the Suffolk News-Herald included, had to come up with creative ways to stay in business and still serve patrons. And that’s just what we did.

The News-Herald worked to embrace the web and social media and get creative when it came to our products. We now have a healthy presence on Facebook and Twitter and we often post stories to the web — and update them several times — before the story ever makes it to newsprint.

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We also work extra hard to provide added value through our popular Suffolk Living magazine and dozens of informative tabloid-style inserts, ranging from such topics of spring home improvement to the Suffolk Peanut Festival.

And we, unlike so many of our print brethren, are thriving. And I’m thankful for that because a thriving paper means I have a job and I keep getting to do what I enjoy.

I think what we’ve accomplished all comes down to the creativity of those who have steered the paper through lean times.

It’s this creativity that should be harnessed by businesses in Suffolk also struggling to make ends meet. Judging by his comments to a News-Herald colleague this week, I would assume that Arthur’s General Store owner Greg Parker agrees.

Parker, who has fought to steer the Driver landmark through recent economic ups and downs, has continually reinvented the store while still trying to serve its patrons. Despite some of his plans falling through, community support has rallied around a new idea.

Parker says he plans to show and sell art in the space.

It’s a venture that is already proving itself, judging by the fact that two pieces have already sold without any of them being shown yet. And it’s an example of the kind of creativity that will nurture Suffolk’s small businesses and allow them to thrive in hard times.

But the businesses can’t do it alone. Community support is vital to a business’s success, and it will be no different for Arthur’s. When Suffolkians support their local businesses, everyone wins. So hit the streets and help support your community. Suffolk will continue to thrive, and so will its citizens.