I am not sure if painting is contagious, but it certainly looks that way around town. Hillsboro Ford has a new, shiny paint job on their building as does The Lumberyard. These two are the most noticeable, but then I saw paint going on the Jost Welding shop and Baker Bros. Printing, too.

Looks really spiffy.

This might be a coincidence, but I had a vision of painting flames on my car and thought it might be a nice touch. Wonder how much trouble I would be in if the family car had burnt red and yellow flames streaking back on the fenders.

Somehow National Newspaper Week came and went without any fanfare from this newspaper. We are extremely proud of the team we have working at our little company. They go out and do it each and every week-and do it well-without fanfare.

One of our steady members will be leaving us next week. Mike Unger is planning to go out and see the world, and I believe he is thinking correctly.

There isn’t a job here he wouldn’t tackle and it was appreciated.

If there are those who think advertising doesn’t work, they probably haven’t tried it.

To find someone to succeed Mike, we ran ads in all three of our publications. We received applications from all three and have hired Kevin Hower, who was living in Salina.

So how did we find him there, you say?

His relatives, who live in Hesston, saw the ad in the Hesston Record and told him about the opening. Kevin moved to Marion last week and we’re glad he’s here.

A newspaper is in a unique position within the community to have a good sense of the business pulse. Nearly all businesses are our customers. We hear about their successes and about their challenges.

We wouldn’t be divulging anything that would be proprietary information, but many of our friends with Marion County businesses are facing big challenges to remain viable. That is why the Free Press is kicking off a campaign this week to keep as much business as possible in the county and to also explain the benefits. (See pages 12 and 13.)

The temptation for many small-town consumers is to go elsewhere because of the perception of a cheaper price-but they discount the hidden costs of doing so.

If our local businesses aren’t supported beyond a quick-shop mentality, we will find ourselves wondering where they all went. And the sad thing about a business leaving is once they are gone, they aren’t coming back.

The other side of the coin is that we will need to earn the business of our peers with service that can’t be matched anywhere else.

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