Ten years ago this month, the first Advocate rolled off the press. It was, we thought, a skillfully crafted newspaper high-lighting the people who make our neighborhoods unique.
After we finished printing the publication, co-founders Tom Zielinski, Jeff Siegel and I gathered beneath a single glowing lightbulb in Tom’s garage and individually stuffed 5,000 tabloid-sized newspapers into candy-wrapper-sized plastic delivery bags (just one of many early gaffes).
Then Tom and I hit the road, one of us driving a borrowed pickup filled with garbage bags of Advocates and the other tossing individual Advocates from pickup bed to front porch.
At least, that was the plan.
About five minutes into our first delivery route, we realized another of our best-laid plans wasn’t: You literally can’t “throw” something that weighs only a few ounces. After floating a few Advocates into bushes, a few into street gutters and a few under parked cars – and none anywhere near anyone’s home entry – we came to the sad realization that our “drive and deliver” days were over.
Instead, in the dead of night (we both had other jobs, so just about everything those first few years happened in the dead of night), we walked door to door plopping the first Advocate on the doorsteps of unwitting neighbors.
Thank goodness concealed weapons weren’t as prevalent then as they are today, or our delivery careers might have been even shorter.
Time lurches on, and this month marks yet another in a series of format changes over the years: We’ve gone from no color to full-color, and from newsprint to glossy paper throughout (notice the rosy shine on my cheeks and the subtle but distinguished flecks of gray in my beard?). And over the years, we’ve gone from that initial 5,000 magazines to more than 80,000 magazines reaching more than 200,000 readers.
As I’ve said here before, our neighborhood keeps changing, and we’re changing with it. Home values continue to skyrocket, personal incomes rival those of almost anywhere in North Texas, and what worked back then wouldn’t work here today.
Our neighborhoods are among the crown gems of Dallas, and we’re just now starting to get our due from other areas of the city.
Thank you for supporting our magazine and our advertisers during the past 10 years. I like to think that in another 10 years, we’ll still be here publishing an even better magazine in some as-yet-uninvented format for an even happier, healthier and wealthier (financially or otherwise) group of readers.