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Wednesday's West Central Tribune will be biggest issue of the year

Martha Medrano prepares inserts Wednesday for a recent edition of the West Central Tribune. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

WILLMAR -- This Thanksgiving, your turkey won't be the only thing that's stuffed. Wednesday's edition of the West Central Tribune will be filled with all of the Black Friday advertisements, inserts and coupons that shoppers need for the big day.

The newspaper, which is one of the best-selling editions of the year, will include nearly 20 promotional inserts, mostly from big-box stores. Many local businesses have advertised their weekend sales and promotions in the paper as well.

"Newspapers are still the fastest way to get information into people's hands," said Kevin Smith, advertising director for the West Central Tribune. "No other media can put a catalog in front of that many customers."

Because of the issue's popularity, the Tribune will print around 4,000 extra copies of the edition, according to Steve Ammermann, publisher of the West Central Tribune.

"The convergence of holiday advertisements in Wednesday's newspaper creates a 'virtual shopping center' providing critical information to shoppers," Ammermann said. "Our newspaper helps local businesses draw customers. That's the cornerstone of newspaper advertising: helping local businesses be successful and reach their customers."

While it comes with rewards, putting out the biggest newspaper of the year can also be quite a bit of work.

Because of the additional inserts, the paper needs to go to press one hour earlier than usual, at 11 p.m. In addition, it will take mailroom staff twice the amount of time to stuff the inserts into the paper, said Rick Buddy, mailroom manager for the West Central Tribune.

"I will have roughly 300 man hours involved from start to finish for this paper," Buddy said. "Because of the large size of this paper and the inserts, this paper is inserted all by hand. There is no machine work done at all."

Delivering the paper can also be a challenge. Because of its larger size - the issue will weigh about 2 pounds - drivers and carriers usually have to make extra trips and enlist additional help to ensure the paper is delivered everywhere on time, Ammermann said.

This year, the paper will only be available at regular dealers throughout the Tribune's coverage area, not at any of the newsstand locations. Single copies will be sold for $3 that day.

"This affects the newspapers sold individually at store locations," Ammermann said. "This edition will not be available in the newspaper racks because of the price change. Home delivery subscribers will not be affected by this one-day rate change."

A growing number of inserts and advertisements in the paper's Thanksgiving edition indicates that retailers feel optimistic about the holiday shopping season, Smith said.

"I think retailers feel more confident this year," he said. "They're planning out a little bit further than last year."

And, of course, holiday shoppers should be optimistic about the deals, too.

"Black Friday shoppers will definitely be happy," Smith said. "I can't give anything away, but from what I've seen and been told, there are going to be some great deals and doorbusters in the inserts. It's definitely a good reason to do some shopping."

Ashley White

Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.

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