Jerry & Carey Carlson
Publisher & Boss

How do you successfully start a business from scratch? With no money? With no financing? How about no investors or financial backing what so ever?

I too didn’t know how, back in 1993, but still I walked out the door that cold February morning on this merry adventure to become the publisher of this direct mail magazine business. I was in the perfect situation for success. After all, I was two months behind on my house and car payments…Perfect!
I Guess the truth really was… Failure Was Not An Option.

There have been many moments in my life that tested my faith, but the night before I stepped out that door was one of the hardest.

I tossed & turned in bed and I cried. I felt like such a failure. My kids had medical issues because of my inability to provide adequately. The bills had piled up.

I never had a childhood of abundance. My Mom raised my brother and I on a whopping $325/month in SE Portland back in the 1960s. My kids still shake their heads at how well I can clean the meat off a pork chop or what’s left of an apple core. There was nothing extra back in those days.

That February night my faith was in question, not just for the Lord, but in myself. Could I? Should I? What if I fail? I could lose Everything…including my home and my family!

It all came to the point where I had to ask if I was being tested. Was this that proverbial Brass Ring being dangled within reach? But it required my faith in myself to reach out and grab ahold.

I didn’t sleep a wink that night. The clock read 5 o’clock when I crawled out of bed quietly and made a pot of coffee.

I started looking through the sample magazines given to me by the folks who were trying to get me started in their publishing group. They were all titled for

towns in other states around the country. Then I spotted a Tree Service ad.

My best client with my prior employer had a tree service. He also lived nearest to our dinky little place out in rural Colton. Only way to see him was early morning when he was giving his crew orders for the day.

So with coffee & keys in hand, I headed off to see Bill. His wife, Sue, sat me down at their dining table and said he’d be in soon as he could.

I spread out some sample magazines, mumbled something about I was THINKING ABOUT starting one of these coupon magazines in Oregon City.

All of a sudden, he grabbed one he recognized. “Oh my God, I’ve seen this on my Mom’s Coffee Table back home in Jersey!”, he hollered. “Hey, Look, Ploch’s Garden Center is in here! That was my first job as a kid! Here’s the Hamburger Place we’d go pick up chicks after football games Friday Nights! This is really cool. How much you want for your back cover? Oh, and if you start one up in Milwaukie, I’ll take that back cover too!”

Bill spotted something he recognized from nearly 3000 miles away. What are the chances? I then knew it was time to conquer the world!

At 11:30am that first morning, I stopped for a small bite and added up what I had sold so far. I realized I had enough sales to more than cover half the cost to print and mail the first issue to all 15,000 homes in Oregon City & Beavercreek. I still sold more that afternoon.

Two Months Later the first issue hit the mailboxes. My phone rang off the hook! People were thanking me for mailing it to them. I got inquiries to advertise. I even had a sobbing lady call, so happy that her home town actually had a magazine full of nearby coupons and services.

It was at that moment I knew this wasn’t such a bad business idea. Several clients have been with me ever since.

I no longer publish with the national group that got me started. Printing technology has made life easier to use a great local printer here in the PDX area to improve quality, reduce production time, and insure delivery is always on time.

It felt important that we should be supporting those local family wage jobs, since we’re promoting local small businesses. The savings of reduced trucking also allowed me to increase coverage to more homes in our growing communities without raising prices.

My resolve to make the highest quality product has never faltered. Quality in materials and the content of the character of each advertiser matters. Because it matters to you, my reader.

I owe it partly to your enthusiastic usage all these years. Most is owed to a very special wife and a God who tested my faith. I can help save you all money, but God saves all, Through faith. I am so blessed.

Thank You and Happy New Year.