Dear Readers, Friends and Detractors:
As we publish our 1000th issue it’s a good time to briefly look back at our history. In 1998 we felt the need for a local classifieds newspaper, modeled after Recycler Classifieds, except that we felt a more localized publication would better serve our community. The first issue of Santa Clarita Free Classifieds was published on July 31, 1998. Our model was to have our content (classified ads) free for private party ads, only charging for businesses to advertise. The popularity grew steadily — after a couple of difficult years we were “in the black” and thrived until 2008.
The economic downturn of 2008 caused so many small businesses to close their doors and others struggled enough that advertising was a luxury they could not afford. Our revenue took a dive and, coincidentally, due in large part to Craigslist, our classified ad count dropped. We kept it afloat, but struggled to think of new ways to bring in revenue and enhance the publication.
In 2012 we decided to become more of a community newspaper by adding news to the mix, re-branding from Santa Clarita Free Classifieds to the Santa Clarita Gazette. In March of 2012 we introduced “Doug’s Rant,” “Non-Profit of the Week,” “Athletes of the Week” and Tim Haddock’s sports column. Soon after, we included John Boston’s History column and began to pick up a group of opinion writers.
The year 2013 saw a legal dispute develop between the Gazette and The Signal newspaper. The owners of the daily paper at the time contested us in our court petition to publish “legal notice ads.”
The dispute lasted for three years, ending with a miraculous agreement between us and the new owners of The Signal. It not only ended the legal dispute, but we formed a partnership, creating a new LLC called SCV Publications. The results of that partnership have been very positive for all concerned.
The full history can be found in a series of three articles on our web site, www.santaclaritagazette.com. Search “The Gamble that Became the Gazette” and “History of the Gazette” (part two and final).
All in all, it’s been a great ride for us through the good and the bad times. What started out as an “ads only” paper has now become a source of information, opinion and, yes, advertisements (the foundation of our existence). While we’re not sure what the next 1,000 issues holds for the Gazette, we can say the past 1,000 issues have been a blast!