We could not have know the franchise success we would experience on our journey.
“You never know where you’re going to end up” said Karen Newton, when reflecting on the journey that led her to become a Coffee News publisher.
Karen and her husband, Glenn Stewart started their Coffee News franchise in 2006. Today, they publish six editions in Southern Georgian Bay, Canada.
Newton spent 25 years in an advertising agency franchise with a focus on media planning and buying when the couple lived in Toronto. Her husband worked in television advertising sales. As a family, they would often vacation in Southern Georgian Bay, a resort area about two hours north of Toronto.
“Then I had that moment when I realized I really didn’t want to do what I was doing anymore. It was time for a change,” Newton said.
That change included relocating to Southern Georgian Bay permanently. Newton ran a Bed and Breakfast there and taught at a local college. “When our daughter was in school full time, I was ready to begin a new chapter and began looking for a business opportunity,” Newton said.
Thinking back, Newton remembered the first time she saw Coffee News. “We were eating at a small café while on vacation in Nova Scotia. I picked up Coffee News and thought these people who run this business are amazing, they can also publish this great little paper,” she recalled.
As the couple started thinking about business opportunities, Stewart attended a franchise trade show. “He came back from that show and handed me a copy of Coffee News and said this business would be a perfect fit for me. It was the same paper I saw in that café in Nova Scotia. I had no idea it was a franchise,” Newton said. And to guess it would become a successful franchise did not at first cross our minds.
The couple began researching the business and determined that it was the right fit for them. “We saw the income potential with Coffee News. I could start the business and build it to the point where Glenn could eventually leave his job and work with me. It can be something we can continue to do in our retirement by selling off a few editions and keeping a few,” Newton explained.
“Furthermore, our local newspapers were not so local anymore, as they had been bought out by larger organizations. We recognized the need for a paper that would provide information about local events and be a great vehicle for the small-to- medium-sized businesses and nonprofits in our town to get the word out,” she added.
The couple started their Coffee News franchise with one edition. Three months later they added a second edition. Six months later, a third. A fourth edition soon followed. In one year, they had launched four editions.
“Glenn joined me on a full-time basis two years ago. So, we were able to expand and add two more editions. This past spring, the TV station where he had worked asked him to come back and work on a contract basis, so for now we are not planning any further expansion of our Coffee News business,” Newton said.
“What is nice about Coffee News is that we have been able to expand the business to match what is going on in our lives. We still have a daughter in high school, so we need to have time for family and appreciate the flexibility this business affords us,” said Newton.
As their Coffee News franchise expands and contracts, so does their Coffee News team. “I believe that when your business reaches a certain size, it makes sense to have delivery people and maybe a salesperson. However, it can be hard to find a salesperson who is as passionate about the business as you are, but often it becomes impossible to do it all by yourself,” Newton said.
Newton says her advertisers are pleased with the results they get from advertising in Coffee News. “Our community is a resort area made up of year-round and part-time residents and vacationers. Coffee News is where people go to find what they need. If someone is looking for a handyman to open up or shut down their seasonal home, all they have to do is pick up Coffee News to find one,” she said.
Newton adds, “I have an accountant who has been advertising with me since day one, a museum that has been with me for about six years, and other businesses that are long-term advertisers. That says a lot right there.”
In addition to operating her Coffee News franchise, Newton is also a Coffee News trainer. She provides instruction, insight and shares her experiences with new Coffee News publishers who attend Coffee News Colleges throughout the year.
Based on her experience as a publisher and a trainer, Newton offers these tips to be successful in Coffee News:
Watch Your Business
There will be times when you may want to pull back a bit. Sometimes life’s priorities shift. That’s okay, but just be sure to keep an eye on your bottom line and your bank account so you don’t fall too far behind.
Keep the Pipeline Full
We all want immediate results when looking for advertisers. However, the payout is not always immediate. Don’t stop making sales calls or networking because you aren’t getting results. If you strike out today, get back out there tomorrow. The person who said “No” today, may say “Yes” in the future.
Reach Out for Support
There is a great network of Coffee News publishers to call on for support, feedback, advice and best practices. The people at Coffee News Headquarters are always willing to help, too. Know that you are not alone and take advantage of those resources.
Coffee News is a fun publication and a fun business. Enjoy it! Enjoy your readers, your advertisers and the contacts and network you will build through this business. Maintain your sense of humor when things get challenging and have fun with it!