Black Press tubes used for alternate delivery

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 10/6/99.

The name, The Paynesville Press, has been familiar to Paynesville residents for over 100 years. That name was first used for a community newspaper in Paynesville in 1887. For a while, that name was used in conjunction as the Leader Press, but for the past three quarters of a century The Paynesville Press has stood alone.

In the past couple years, that name, The Press, has become familiar to area residents in a new way, on the black plastic tubes next to mailboxes throughout the area.

For years, The Paynesville Press and its shopper counterpart, The Paynesville Press Plus, were distributed by mail, but that changed four years ago.

Publisher Peter Jacobson met in the summer of 1995 with representatives of the New London-Spicer Times Free Press and the Dairyland Peach about establishing an alternative delivery system. Working with perceived competitors in the publishing industry, a system was devised that would make an alternate system economically justifiable by delivering two and even three products at the same time. "Basically, it was a switch to all of us to come out on the weekend," said Jacobson.

The establishment of an alternate delivery system required the publications to coordinate their publication dates, in order to deliver the products at the same time. Rural routes needed to be mapped for motor route carriers, and cities needed to be divided for foot carriers.

Those black tubes with the Press name were erected in the fall of 1995, and the first alternate delivery was made on Oct. 16, 1995.

"We also changed our shopper to a weekend delivery that everybody gets, and that is where we carry all of our preprints, our inserts," explained Jacobson.

Previously, the newspaper and the shopper were printed on Mondays and distributed on Tuesdays. Subscribers received the Press and nonsubscribers received the Plus.

Now the Plus is printed on Fridays, with the deadline on Thursdays at noon. "Advertisers like to get their ad in the hands of consumers when they have time to read it, which is over the weekend," Jacobson explained. "That's why the Sunday papers of the world are so full of advertising inserts."

The Plus is delivered over the weekend by 30 city carriers, 13 motor carriers, and four dispatchers. They also deliver the Peach and, on some routes, the Weekend Reminder, a publication of the West Central Tribune. "We really have a good crew who deliver for us," said Jacobson.

Two years ago, the Press purchased the delivery equipment for several New London and Spicer routes. Each week, the carriers make deliveries to a total of 8,000 homes.

Betty Orbeck, circulation manager, said the turnover for carriers is actually low. Of the 43 carriers, 13 are originals, having delivered the products since its inception four years ago.

Inserts, especially, are bulky items. "One of the things that alternate delivery has done is to hold down the cost of delivering preprints for our customers," said Jacobson.

Alternate delivery can be used for special deliveries. Recently, carriers delivered the publications in plastic bags for use in a Cub Scouts' food drive.

The paper is printed on Tuesdays now, with a deadline of Mondays at noon. This new schedule has moved layout day to Monday, allowing the newspaper to cover weekend events more easily and to avoid working on Sunday nights. On occasion, the paper covers Monday night events in the paper on Wednesday, like the Homecoming coronation picture in this week's issue.

Local subscribers receive their Press through the mail on Wednesdays. It is possible that some day subscribers will receive their newspaper through alternative delivery. "We've talked about it, but we've never actually done it because we get good service from the post office," said co-publisher Lynne Jacobson.

(This week, Oct. 3-9 is National Newspaper Week. Newspaper Carrier Day is Saturday, Oct. 9.)

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