by Val Mohney
What a year it’s been at Huckleberry HQ. And what a year we are looking forward to experiencing in 2020!
You haven’t heard much from the people behind the Huckleberry Press. On the one hand, we’re busy delivering papers, gathering ads, collecting content and doing all the other things it takes to maintain and grow a business. On the other hand, we really want this publication to be by and for the people of Eastern Washington. We want to hear from you, share your message with other people, and give those people a chance to learn from, contribute to, or participate with your businesses, organizations, fundraisers, and events. The Huckleberry Press is here to “Bring Eastern Washington Together”. We are nothing without you and everything because of you.
Every small business has ups and downs. Since we bought the paper in 2015, we’ve had to deal with a bunch of challenging medical issues in our family. Luckily, through the support of family, friends and community we were able to heal. The last surgery occurred this past summer. We’re glad and grateful to be able to say that everyone in the family is now healthy, happy and able to move freely about Eastern Washington. What a relief!
One of the major upsides to this new, blessed windfall of health is that throughout 2019, we were able to put increasing attention on the dynamics that we hope will lead to the growth of the Huckleberry Press.
At the beginning of the year we worked with our new business consultants to begin growing our team. While the process took longer than we might have liked, the team is now growing like wildfire. We’ve added a bookkeeper, the business consultants, graphic designers, a handful of salespeople and content creators. The level of generating ideas, opportunities and collaboration have gone way up. People are approaching us from all kinds of different places!
When we first started looking at adding people to the team, the prevailing conversation was largely about “making money”. There’s money to be made, a big business to grow and perhaps foolishly, I thought people would be motivated by the flexibility and ability to make money.
What I learned is people aren’t necessarily motivated by the promise of money. Looking back, I see the commitments stacked merely on potential financial benefits were weak.
When we first bought the paper, one of the things we saw was the chance to make a positive difference in our Eastern Washington community. To start with, Eastern Washington is a beautiful place and we wanted to highlight everything that makes this region an attractive place to work and live. We wanted to support our small businesses and encourage people to shop locally.
What seems to attract people to our team is our increased focus on the mission of “Bringing Eastern Washington Together”. Once we started sharing the mission and vision of what the Huckleberry Press can be, and the kind of impact we can have, everything swiftly changed. Rather than having to chase people down, people are now approaching us with ideas and even better, tons of action. Every day, every week, we are brainstorming, collaborating, and planning. What can we do to expand our reach? Help more? Have a bigger impact? Include more local people? Shine even more light on what’s happening in our region? Balance growing our physical paper with our social media presence? Enhance our delivery systems? How can we create a community based, media-oriented enterprise that can last for decades?
The passion and dedication in Team Huckleberry are high! While much of what we have been working on remains behind the scenes, much will be revealed over the course of 2020. Clearly, this is a year that is destined to see a lot of growth and transformation for the Huckleberry Press.
We’re here to highlight everything that is working in Eastern Washington. Highlighting the people, businesses, organizations and projects that call this area home. Shining light on the so-called “common” people of Eastern Washington who have overcome struggles to run their small businesses. Telling the stories of our evolving small towns and the people who live and work in them. Sharing the projects, events and fundraisers that seek to make Eastern Washington a happier place to be for our neighbors. YOU, the reader of this paper, ARE the neighbors! We are here to talk about the people YOU know and might run into walking down the street, or in the local pharmacy. Turns out, given a chance, people have lots of varied stories and experiences to share. Eastern Washington is full of amazing people to appreciate, and we appreciate you!
We invite you to stay tuned with developments on our Facebook page, at www.huckleberrypress.com and most importantly, the physical paper itself. All of our plans include making the paper an institution far into the future. The Huckleberry Press started in 2002 and we’ll be here for you for a long time. We absolutely invite your ideas, suggestions, story leads, events and businesses that need promotional help. We are building this enterprise to be an extension of the voice of the people of Eastern Washington. Thank you for all you do, and for being a part of it. We love Huckleberry Country!