By Bob Heafner © 1984-2012
Issue: November, 1984
Recently we were in the process of beginning a full scale push to sell more advertising. An advertising director and sales staff were in the works. It seemed the days were not long enough for all the work that needed to be done. There was a trend taking place within The Mountain Laurel that placed more emphasis on selling advertising than riding mountain Backroads and talking to old timers. Suddenly everything was becoming so commercialized and business oriented that we didn't have time for the things we enjoyed.
Then on Sunday, October 14th, we took a walk across the road from the house to a knoll on Beamer and Lena Conner's farm. There we could look down the narrow valley at the old Conner homeplace and the Dan River with its baptizing hole and footbridge. Cattle were grazing beneath apple trees that had already shed their leaves, but still hung full of bright red old time mountain apples. The other trees were a blaze of autumn colors and the valley was the perfect picture of an old mountain farmstead. We sat on the knoll beneath trees a hundred feet tall and surveyed the beauty before us and realized that such a beautiful sight was only minutes away from the house but this was the first time we had found all year to enjoy it. From that knoll on Beamer and Lena Conner's farm, we asked ourselves, "What do we really enjoy doing?" The answer was, "Sharing with our readers sights such as this and discovering new mountain Backroads and gathering the memories of mountain old timers. Their wisdom not only sheds light on our past, but also can inspire us today and guide us into the future."
During the first half of this century, life in these mountains was unique and a part of our nation's heritage that should be saved and not forgotten.
As we walked down the knoll toward home that Sunday afternoon, our feet stepped a little lighter, our hearts beat happier and our original goals and desires were back on track. We had made a major decision and even though it would be unheard of in the publishing business, we had decided to not pursue so actively the sale of advertising. Our efforts would primarily be directed toward the content of our "paper" and gathering stories rather than selling more and more ads.
We don't plan to eliminate advertising from The Mountain Laurel, we can't afford to, but we do plan to drastically reduce our efforts and time spent on selling it.
The overwhelming support of our readers, subscribers and loyal advertisers (many of whom have run in every issue of The Mountain Laurel) has enabled us to make this decision to follow our hearts.
This Thanksgiving we'd like to express to each of you our sincere appreciation for the opportunity you have given us. Your loyalty and letters of encouragement have meant more than our words could ever convey. It's not often in life that folks have the opportunity to follow their dreams; thank you so much for that opportunity.