Little Paper, Big Changes
I never expected to take over my family business, if I’m honest; it rarely, if ever, crossed my mind.
My mother owned and ran this ship for thirty years. She did so the way that she did everything: with grace, humor, intelligence, and an utterly frightening and unwavering level of capability. Fanny Mallary was the strongest person I will ever know. She never let anything shake her. Not her personal life. Not IT’S CLASSIFIED. Not the deadlines for her brilliant novels. Not even her cancer diagnosis.
She passed away in October and left a hole in our lives and in this community that she had adopted as her own (a far cry from her birthplace in Southern England). She’d been sick for two years though she rarely spoke about it, preferring to power through and continue to live her life as close to the way she had before as possible.
I’d been living and working in New York City, in book publishing, enjoying my job but missing the Upper Valley and our very particular way of life. When I lost my mother, I considered for the first time the possibility of coming home and using my publishing background to takeover and revitalize the paper. Why not seize the opportunity to do the work I love in the community I love? Hubris!
I suspect that my mom, always prepared for everything, would have warned me that these sorts of new endeavors always come with a trial by fire.
And, boy howdy, it has!
Which brings me to those website woes…
With my mother’s illness, our website had long since become out of date. Even so, it still puttered along doing what it needed to do: allowing people to submit and search for classifieds. Until, on a fine March morning, it stopped. Calls to our web developer revealed the worst: the website was too old to be fixed and attempting to do so would likely result in catastrophe.
We know how frustrating the old website being unable to take payment was for our customers and we’re deeply sorry for it. It was entirely out of our control and frustrating for us as well. We are a very small staff, but we did our best to call each customer, arrange payment, and get all ads into the paper. Meanwhile, we were working on a solution as quickly and efficiently as we could.
When we debuted our new website a few weeks ago, we were excited and relieved! The transition had been much quicker than we would have preferred and we knew there would be bumps in the road, but hoped the new site would meet the needs of our customers even if it didn’t have quite the level of functionality our previous site had boasted.
Though we’ve received lots of positive feedback on the site, we recognize that for some users it has not been an easy transition for a number of reasons. We know there are issues with the site. We’re so sorry and want you to know that a developer is now working on building in all of the web functions that we had before. Unfortunately, this sort of custom work takes time that we didn’t have in the short term.
The current site, as it is, is temporary. We’re listening to your comments, responding to them in the immediate sense when we can, and working on them in the long term when we can’t.
The site should be returned to full functionality by the end of June—we’ll keep you informed as the date approaches.
We cannot thank you enough for all the kindness and support we’ve received from our community throughout this process, through the difficult few years that proceeded it, and for the thirty years that you’ve been welcoming us into your homes, businesses, shopping carts, cars, and more. We love the Upper Valley. We love being your number one buyers’ and sellers’ marketplace. We love connecting local people with local goods and businesses. We believe the work we do is important and we are so grateful that all of you have made it possible for us to do it for all these years.
So, please stick with us.
Please believe that we will do whatever we can to help you get your ad in the paper, listen to your feedback, and make sure you’re satisfied with your experience. We want to make this work for you!
In order to keep our advertising affordable, we remain a small, local staff and our guaranteed office hours are limited to Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 to Noon. We promise that we will always respond to our customers as quickly as we can. The best way to contact us is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your patience and understanding. We hope to continue connecting the Upper Valley with quirk and good humor for years to come.