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Put down your phone and go shopping

 

A nice enough fellow sent me a note a few weeks ago wondering what in the world I was thinking.

”You bought The Greensheet?,” he asked. “I didn’t even know that thing was still around.”

In case you missed last week’s introduction, our company bought this tradition-rich publication (and its affiliated digital businesses) last month. For nearly half a century, Helen Gordon and then her daughter, Kathy Douglass, published one of the most respected shopping publications in the nation, and our company simply seeks to continue their incredible legacy.

But back to that note. I don’t blame him for the question, and I certainly understand why more than a couple of people have looked at me with that squiggly eye when I told them our company bought The Greensheet. Let’s not be naïve here, folks. There aren’t exactly a bunch of burgeoning companies buying print publications these days, and it’s not like the younger generation stampedes out the door in search of the next edition of recycled paper.

Yep, I get all of that. Well, except for the part about the burgeoning companies buying printed newspapers. This random fellow, Jeff Bezos, bought the Washington Post a few years back. He also owns a company called Amazon. I think they sell books. Another guy, Patrick Soon-Shiong, is worth almost $8 billion, owns a biotech company and a small portion of the L.A. Lakers, and he just bought the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune.

One other fellow, Warren—oh what’s his name—Buffet, owns more than 30 newspapers.

Our company certainly doesn’t play in the same league as Bezos, Soon-Shiong or Buffet, but these gentlemen aren’t dumb, either. There’s something mysterious and fascinating about the printed word, and what they see is probably the same thing our company sees.

So why did we take our money and buy another printed publication? I could list a hundred reasons, but let me start with the most important.

Once upon a time, you could pick up a publication or listen to a radio spot or see a TV commercial and be reminded that you might need something. Maybe it’s new gutters; maybe it’s a new car. Maybe you’ve needed an attorney to help you out of a sticky situation and you haven’t gotten around to calling.

Kind of like the rest of our world these days, the digital world has warped the way we “think” we should buy things. These websites that virtually run our lives now have convinced us that everything must be based on immediate need. They’ve overtaken our lives, and their marketing ploy has been to convince us that if we can’t have it right now, it’s not worth having anyway.

And that’s wrong, and that’s why I love the new Greensheet we want to build. We’re a place to go shopping. We’re a place to remind customers that if you can’t get your gutters fixed until next week, there’s nothing wrong with a little patience. And we’re the place where you might just find your next new car, even if you weren’t in the market.

We bought The Greensheet because more than 330,000 people read it every week. There’s not a Facebook page or a Craig’s List item that gets the traction we deliver in Houston.

Email jmcelvy@thegreensheet.com

Jonathan McElvy