The oldest ‘new kid’ in the building

The oldest ‘new kid’ in the building

Putting out a half-dozen publications each and every week is no easy feat and requires a real team effort.

I’m just glad to be joining the team.

Or, in this case, rejoining — I’m now the oldest “new” kid they’ve had for awhile here at AloNovus, the company responsible for publishing Bargain Hunters in Holmes, Wayne, Stark and Tuscarawas counties, as well as the Wooster Weekly News. I’m also the editor of three of those — the Holmes and Wayne BHs and the WWN.

It’s an exciting opportunity for a number of reasons, the most important being the people I’m working with. Back in the day, when I was hanging on to a lonely last few wisps of my remaining hair, I was the first editor of the Wooster Weekly News. A lot of the same people are still with the company, so it hasn’t been a leap entirely into the unknown.

What I’ve come back to truly is a team, and proof that the whole really is the sum of its parts. The Mast brothers — Michael, John and Dave — have built a strong local company at AloNovus, everyone here has his or her own duties, and the whole thing comes together six times a week, every week of the year.

In Holmes County, where our main office is located, the foundation for the Bargain Hunter is a strong one, thanks to my predecessor, Kyle Valentini, whose focus has been shifted to our publications in Tuscarawas and Stark counties. (Fortunately, Kyle’s office here in Millersburg is right next to mine, so she can clearly hear any yells for help.)

Now the aim is to do the same thing here in Wayne County, and we’re well on the way to doing just that. I’ve brought a few friends along to join in the effort, and I hope you will like reading what they have to offer. Tom Rife is one of the best and most unique storytellers I know while John Lorson is a unique person, period, with writing among his many talents. Many of you are already familiar with Mike Dewey, and I’m happy to be sharing his work again.

Some colleagues from my past life as a daily sports writer also will be contributing, including Lydia Calabrese, Laurie Sidle, Steve Huszai and Dan “The G-Man” Starcher, while Rhonda Edgerton has written several outstanding stories with more to come.

We also have writing machine Dave Mast — always willing to bang out an 800-word story when one is needed — along with a host of varied and interesting columnists. I’ll be introducing other writers along the way.

The concept here, and it’s been this way for close to 50 years, is simple: offering advertisers widespread market penetration, combining that with creative, colorful, effective ads, then delivering the finished product into mailboxes and households throughout the area. There are a few imitators popping up, sure, but nobody has done it longer and better than us. Right now more than 85,000 individual homes and businesses are receiving one of our products, and sometime early next year, we’ll be making an even bigger impact locally.

My goal is pretty simple, too: once this publication goes into the home, to try and give as many people as possible as many reasons as possible to pick it up and read it.

It’s been almost two months since I started here, and there’s been an adjustment period, without question. Not only have I had to learn the inner workings of how the whole operation works — relearning in some cases — I’ve had to recalibrate my inner clock as well, after working nights for so long. (Working “regular” hours and having most of my weekends free is going to be a real sacrifice, but I believe I’ve got the intestinal fortitude and strength to forge ahead through such obstacles.)

Ultimately, it would be great if every issue could include something for everyone: agriculture, church, health, business, sports, education — things important or interesting to you. I could say that you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth, but that’s always been the case.

Wayne County is a special place, that much I know from living here most of my life. What I don’t know are all of the stories, so if you have one you think should be shared, please let me know and we can share it with everyone else.

Mike Plant is editor of the Wayne County Bargain Hunter, the Wooster Weekly News and the Holmes County Bargain Hunter. He can be emailed at

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