Tribune's Wednesday edition is largest of the year
WILLMAR -- The Wednesday edition of the West Central Tribune will be landing on readers' doorsteps with a heftier thump than usual.
Retailer advertising, coupons and inserts for Black Friday make the day before Thanksgiving "by far the largest paper of the year," said Mark Herman, circulation manager for the West Central Tribune.
Not only is it the largest paper, it's also one of the best-selling editions of the year among readers clamoring for the sale ads and coupons.
"We sell a lot of papers that day," said Steve Ammermann, publisher of the West Central Tribune. "It takes a lot of planning."
This year, an extra 4,000 copies of the Wednesday Tribune are being printed to meet customer demand -- and the entire edition will likely sell out, Herman said.
For the second year, the Tribune also is holding a one-hour "hot off the press" event from 12:01 to 1 a.m. Wednesday at its plant at 2208 Trott Ave. S.W., giving customers a chance to be among the first to buy a copy of the paper and get hold of all the sale ads.
"People want to plan their attack for Black Friday," Herman said.
Last year was the first time the Tribune sold its pre-Thanksgiving issue fresh off the press and the event was a success, he said. "We had people lined up all down the block. Nobody was turned away."
The biggest challenge on Wednesday? Distributing and delivering the jumbo newspaper.
"The real heroes of the whole operation are the people who put it together and deliver it," Herman said.
The process started the first week in November with the pre-packaging of bundles of advertising inserts. Altogether, three bundles must be pre-packaged before they can be inserted into the Wednesday edition as it rolls off the press.
"We start the press an hour early to account for the volume," Herman said.
The newspapers that land on the doorstep or go into the mailbox on Wednesday will weigh just over two pounds apiece. Because of their size, single copies are being sold for $1.50 that day, the same price as the Tribune's weekend edition.
A snowstorm and bad road conditions could complicate things, but Herman said the production and distribution crews are ready to handle it.
"You see what works and what doesn't. You try to improve each year," he said. "I get excited for it. It's something to look forward to. It's a challenge."
The quantity of advertising in the pre-Thanksgiving edition sends a signal that retailers are starting to feel a little more confident in the economy, Ammermann said.
"There's some optimism out there," he said. "I think things are starting to turn around. I think the merchants have had a much more positive attitude than the past two years."