Opinion: It sure doesn’t seem that long

This isn’t gloating. It’s simply reflection. We had more than a few people look at us, mouths agape, when we said back in 2005 we were going to launch a publishing company. We heard, “Yeah, good luck with that,” “They’re going crush you like an over-ripened grape and spit you out,” and “This is the wrong time to do that, because newspapers are dying on the vine.” OK, thanks, got it. In truth, that actually became fuel to develop what shortly thereafter became Current Publishing, LLC.

As some of you might know, we independently were working on plans to do this, when one of us crossed paths with a mutual acquaintance. He suggested we get together and mine each other’s thoughts. So we did that, and after 15 minutes it became readily apparent that with strength in numbers – to speak nothing of combining energies and knowhow – we just might be able to get this done. Sixteen months of market and reader research, and funding, legal, staffing and logistics work ensued, and – it seemed like overnight, truly – our first publication, Current in Carmel, arrived in the day’s mail of Oct. 24, 2006. Ten. Years. Ago. Our dream came true, and it continues to flourish in our second decade as a locally owned and operated business. We can’t even begin to explain how fortunate we are and how grateful we are to so many, including our readership, our advertising partners, our investors, our vendors, our research firm and, last but nowhere near least, our colleagues here at this humble enterprise. Add it up, and it all looks like this: You win with people. In the end, it’s that simple. Getting to this point was anything but.

It was a dark-and-stormy night Oct. 19, 2006. We were busy assembling our first edition. Sometime before 10 p.m., everyone left for the night … except for Steve. He had a few more things to do (including an hour nap in his car at 2 a.m.), and that lasted only until about 6 p.m. the next day, when the paper was shipped for the press run … only approximately eight hours late. Brian was pacing with a stack of unpaid ad invoices and a calculator belching smoke. It was quite the scene. We were housed in temporary quarters, “Cubicleville” at the former Thomson USA building at West 103rd and Meridian streets. We met a ton of cool and helpful people there, folks that had nothing to do with Current, but who willingly pitched in on matters of technology and communication. On New Year’s Eve 2006, we bade them farewell after sending the paper to press (on time!), boxing up all our worldly possessions and unplugging, maybe, four computers. We were headed for a more permanent home, the Old Town Shoppes at the southeast corner of East Main Street and South Range Line Road in Carmel. We all but outgrew that office in less than a year, but we hung in for nearly five, before moving to our now office/home/world headquarters at 30 S. Range Line Rd. What a trip!

Colleagues have come and gone (fairly rapidly in the beginning as we strove to find our sea legs), but the one constant has been Dennis O’Malia. He has been a vital part of this operation since well before Day 1. Some might not know him as an advertising sales executive extraordinaire and the one who really gave us our “go like hell” tenet, but as a former owner of O’Malia Food Markets. We believe everyone associated with us comprises The A Team, to which we owe a massive measure of gratitude. Even though we can’t mention them all by name here – Brian, aka Mr. Drysdale (see: The Beverly Hillbillies), would faint from the newsprint expense – we seriously would be remiss were we not to name the folks we call “our bosses in the office”: Zach Ross, our art director and production coordinator, who is far and away the most unflappable/unfazed human around when all hell is breaking loose; Andrea Nickas, our advertising artist, who just keeps quietly super-serving our advertising partners with high-quality and quick work, as does Lara Acton, our ad traffic manager (a job at which either of us would fail in a heartbeat); Raquel Dowley, our office manager, who has built in so many vital efficiencies and is as detail-oriented as they come; Sophie Pappas, our micro-managing (in a fantastic way) editorial director, and her managing editors, Ann Marie Shambaugh (Carmel and Zionsville), Sadie Hunter (Noblesville and Geist) and Anna Skinner (Westfield and Fishers). Those folks and all their associates/charges really are the ones that make Current go, and we tip our hats to everyone. We wouldn’t trade a soul from that lot.

Current’s circulation has grown from 26,000 households in 2006 to 125,731 today. We had planned for expansion early on, but each foray into a new market was accelerated at the behest of advertising partners – even through the recession. Today, in addition to Carmel, we are proud purveyors of what we call local-local content – demanded by readers through research, the information you can’t get from a single source anywhere else – in Fishers, Geist, Noblesville, Westfield and Zionsville. That research allows us to provide the content package that resonates with our readers, who linger with the paper and view our advertisers’ messages 2.7 times per single issue. It’s a powerful combination. Too, we have immersed as fully as possible in the communities we serve, especially in the not-for-profit arena. To date since our founding, we have donated in excess of $1.6 million to NFPs, and that never will abate; it’s part of who we are and that for which we stand.

We’re often asked, “What’s next?” It’s an excellent question. To be sure, there are other markets – near and far – to be conquered. Time will tell. For now, though, here’s a toast to everyone – EVERYONE! – who made this possible, not the least of which are our incredibly understanding and supportive families. Without them … well, we won’t even ponder that.

It’s all extremely humbling.

With all sincerity, thank you for reading Current.

To the future!