The purchase of the Delta County Independent by Wick Communications may have an official date of April 30, but graciously, former owners Randy and Pat Sunderland have stayed on after the sale to allow for a smooth transition. Drawing from their own experience when the Sunderland family purchased the DCI in 1987, the importance of an amical change of hands wasn't lost on them. I'm very grateful.
This will mark the last edition that Randy and Pat will be hands-on. Now they can begin to enjoy their retirement.
What Randy, Pat and the rest of the Sunderland family have accomplished over the past 30-plus years should be admired, not only by the community but the newspaper industry. While small community newspapers across the country are struggling to produce their products, or worse yet, closing their doors, the Sunderlands week in and week out produced a quality publication.
Like many owner-operated businesses, much of the day to day duties are shouldered by the owners. Randy handled the publishing duties, Pat the editorial duties, Randy's sister Roxanne the advertising duties, and brother Ron the production duties. They all handled almost every duty in between.
Talk about loyalty.
The Sunderlands are a humble lot. Any praise they receive gets deflected by them and immediately credited to their employees. Working with them these past couple of months it's not hard to understand why they have so many long-time and loyal employees. Some have been with them since the 1987 purchase.
The Sunderlands and their team served their community, proudly covering every level of local government, crime, sports, and events. Their editorial strategy covering each Delta County community, no matter how small, would stretch any editorial budget past the breaking point. But they did it and they've done it well.
As we move into a new era at the DCI, we won't reinvent the wheel. The DCI is my hometown newspaper and I'm honored to follow in Randy's shoes as publisher. Tamie Meck will take over the editorial duties. Meck has been covering the North Fork and will continue to do so. We're in good hands. Buffy Zentmeyer will take on our business office, while Roxanne McCormick will continue as advertising manager and Ron Sunderland as production manager. It's a solid team and I'm confident the DCI will continue to provide you the reader, and you our advertising partners, a high-quality product.
My confidence is high not only because of the ability of the team at the DCI, but because of the solid foundation established by the Sunderland family.
Are changes coming?
I've been asked this question by several people. The short answer is, the biggest change will come digitally. A new website, along with an accompanying app, are in the works. Details to come.
At this moment I prefer to celebrate the upcoming retirement of Randy and Pat. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe their work at the DCI over the past 30-plus years.
Come join us from 10 a.m - 3 p.m. Friday at 401 Meeker St., as we celebrate not only their retirement but their contributions to the Delta County community.
Dennis Anderson is group publisher for Wick Communications, Alaska and Colorado. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.