This is how it happened with the Orange Peel Gazette. The founders of the paper found themselves in the position of relocating to Florida to assist in the care of aging parents. What type of work would give them the freedom to be available when needed and control their time? A home-based business seemed to be the logical choice… but what type of business?
During their many travels throughout the country, Keith and Annie would often find themselves waiting for appointments. These, at times, were in local restaurants and businesses. While waiting, we would amuse ourselves by perusing some of the local reading material, including the Reader’s Digest. We would most often find ourselves reading the stories that were humorous or thought provoking. The other life stories, business articles and local news items, while informative, just did not seem to evoke the same reader attention that “funny” stuff did. This gave us an idea…what about a paper that featured the stories that made people smile. If this is what most people wanted to read, someone should be giving the populace what it wants.
Therefore the Orange Peel Gazette was born. It was a name that Keith dreamed up while still in Montana. He even created the first mock up edition with stories about our move to Florida.
We began an adventure that has spanned for over 13 years. It was apparent from the first edition that the public liked the paper. They began to look for it everywhere. Telephone calls came in requesting that we drop off papers at their business because the supply was exhausted where they picked one up last week. Advertisers soon saw the value of a quality product that enjoyed a long shelf life. Stories came in thru the mail about copies being sent all over the world. Families would read them over the dinner table. Couples would read each other a story before bedtime. EVERYONE seemed to enjoy the paper.
We have an acquaintance who is a professional musician and a very creative talent. His “other” job was as part-owner of a sign business. We asked him to create a picture for us of a character that we could use as our logo. A nice orange with sunglasses, hat and roller blades created the image of fun.
Then we ran a contest in our paper asking our readership to name our new logo. A $250 cash prize would go to the winning name, picked by our staff. Hundreds of names poured in. Most thought of the obvious, Opee Gazette. (for Orange Peel Gazette, ie. O.P. Gazette) The first envelope that had that name was awarded the prize and the name stuck.
As the paper became more popular, we began to get calls from other areas asking how they could start a paper like ours. We then became licensed to sell franchises and, to date, have Orange Peel Gazette’s in many Florida counties, 2 counties in Illinois, Southwest Georgia, Kansas and Maryland.
We feel that the Orange Peel Gazette serves a necessary purpose. It serves up a little laughter and smiles in our sometimes too harried lives. We are happy each day to bring a product to our community that people sometimes line up at the door for. No, we aren’t initiating a new philosophical revolution or rewriting the way our news is delivered. We are not providing a forum to debate the latest political endeavor or religious viewpoint. We will leave that to the other forms of media. What we do is make advertising fun. Our customers, both readers and advertisers, know that a smile puts a person in a positive frame of mind. Our advertisers then benefit from the pleasant thoughts that surround their ads.
So when you hear someone say… “Hey! The NEW Orange Peel Gazette is here,” pick one up. Read it. And remember, Opee says, “Connecting Customers to Businesses...That's What We Do Best!”
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