Refurnished Thoughts

Discover Vintage America - DECEMBER 2018

Thanks . . . see ya around

by Bruce Rodgers

Eighteen years ago next month, I walked up a flight of stairs in an old building in the City Market and started my first day as publisher of Discovery Publications Inc. Somehow, I had convinced my brother Mark to partner-up with me to buy this small business. We were going to build on a solid monthly publication, make it real profitable and have a little fun. He must have smelled the drunken optimism I floated on and decided, "You run it, I'll help when I can."

Bruce Rodgers, publisher 2000-2018, Discover Vintage America
(photo by Patti Klinge)

I was confident. "How hard can it be?" I told myself, after all I had just left an extremely profitable newsweekly as editor after nearly eight years, and absorbed what I could from a publisher known as a smart businessman. I knew journalism; surely running a business couldn't be any harder.

Wel... reality didn't hit right away as to how naive I was; it was slow, like a rash that you first ignore, then scratch at a little, later apply some salve and finally panic because it's spreading. My brother absorbed the panic through various episodes, which ebbed as I became more versed in running this show. Through the years, we suffered the blow (like all of us) from 9-11, dealt with roof leaks, moving to cheaper office space, major printer fiascos, snow storms on distribution week and ad reps who made promises we couldn't possibly keep. Those were times that made me want to keep a bottle of Jack Daniels in the desk drawer.

But it's all good. This experience had me making friends with some wonderful people, truly. And I've travelled to towns I wouldn't ordinary go to. It's not an exaggeration that in my role of publisher, I've met with real Americans, doing their best as Americans. When we got together, we didn't talk politics or religion or lifestyle — it was "How's business?" and sometimes when someone confided in me about some personal or family problem, it was "How's it going?"

As publisher I've learned to appreciate people more, especially the small business people and the individuals heading government and nonprofit organizations. Americans have always been about community, and I've seen it time and time again.

Discover Vintage America is in good hands with Patti Klinge as the new publisher, along with Leigh, Al, Jan, Melissa and Jim. Me? I'll be around some.


Leigh Elmore can be contacted at editor@discoverypub.com.
Leigh Elmore's Refurbished Thoughts Archive — past columns

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