“From the Bay to the Blue Ridge” : January 1988 – The Present
This month’s Business Profile is going to be a little bit different than those that we have printed over the last 27 years. I wanted to focus a bit on us, The Old Town Crier. While I am sure I will get a few comments about how “self-serving” this may be, I think it is something that our readers would like to know. Bob Tagert and David Underwood started brain storming about the Crier in June of 1987 while consuming a few adult beverages at the then popular Bullfeathers – now the ever popular O’Connell’s – on King Street. With the merging of the Gazette and the Port Packet at the time, the guys thought that Old Town needed its own publication and the brain storming began. David was a graphic artist and Bob was selling insurance at the time so they had the layout and the ad sales all squared away. They were missing someone with some writing talent and ran across a rugby acquaintance of Bobs, George West, who was a technical writer with Pepco. The triangle was complete.
Starting out with no business plan, no investment money and a donated printer they pulled together the first issue in David’s dining room and it was published in January 1988 and every month since. There have been several publications over the years that have tried to emulate what we do that haven’t been able to stay the course. It takes a unique skill set to pull off what we do every month! There are many, many funny stories that go along with the first few years at the Crier – some of them we actually couldn’t print in this space – but we will save them for another time.
George was invited to leave early on – one of the stories we can’t print – and we lost David to heart failure in January of 2007. Bob continues as Publisher, guess you had that figured out, and I celebrated 20 years of being part of the puzzle this last November and have been co-publisher for the last several years. There have been and are many talented writers that we have had the pleasure of printing their works each month. There are also many others that have helped out along the way in the areas of design, ad sales, distribution, etc. that we can’t thank enough. However, we wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for our advertisers and our readers – all of whom we are forever grateful.
I don’t think many of our readers and advertisers realize just how “regional” the Crier has become over the years. Not only are we a good print piece but we have an exceptional website/blog and are slowly but surely getting our Facebook “likes” built up every month. Much of the content below is taken from the background information piece I wrote when I first became part of the publication; it puts what we do into a few words. The quote at the end of this column also appears on the information piece.
“The Old Town Crier was established in January of 1988 as “Alexandria ‘s Finest Newsmagazine”. Immediately embraced by the community, the Crier has continued to evolve and grow over the years and we are now known as the publication that literally reaches “From the Bay to the Blue Ridge.“
The Crier began as the only Community Magazine in Alexandria solely dedicated to promoting the lifestyles of Old Town. The format worked so well in Alexandria that we started expanding our coverage almost 21 years ago to include Ann Arundel, Calvert and St. Mary’s County, MD, Middleburg, Fredericksburg, Warrenton, Culpeper, VA, Georgetown, DC and points between including National Harbor. The demographics of these areas exceed the national average in level of income – earned and disposable; discretionary income; mobility; education and cost of housing. Each one of these areas are a destination place in their own right, but moreover, the movement of individuals between these areas is quite active. The magazine fast became one of the most popular sources of information for people traveling to and from these areas.
The Old Town Crier is distributed monthly to over 450 outlets including restaurants, retail establishments, hotels and visitor centers in all of the communities listed above; as well as several residential communities in Alexandria. Currently, our readership is well over 75,000 and growing!”
“EARLY TO BED AND EARLY TO RISE, WORK LIKE HELL AND ADVERTISE”
-Ted Turners Secret to Success
Written by: Lani Gering