New Year message from the publisher

January 3, 2012
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I'm sharing this special greeting to celebrate the beginning of a new year and to recognize the inspiring spirit that unites this community throughout the city, region, state, nation and world. We are blessed to live in a region full of entrepreneurial passion, philanthropic fervor, public private initiatives, outstanding educational opportunities and great people! We understand that public and private can work for the common good.

Since its inception in 1983, the Grand Rapids Business Journal has been committed to delivering accurate, honest and in-depth coverage of the Grand Rapids-West Michigan business scene. And, after many years and hundreds of issues, we have exceeded expectations and developed into a true partner with business and the community, and a key business resource. We believe improving Grand Rapids is everyone's business, and we'll always be there to lead the way.

And while we still dedicate ourselves to providing this community with one of the best local business news publications in the country, we also have become an asset to the region by being an active player in local business development, and we're proud of that. It is with this attitude that we begin each day.

We were the first publication in Michigan to recognize local business as an important niche with unique needs for accurate local news and information. We published profiles of local businesses, their achievements and this region's place in the broader economy. Our willingness and desire to assist other local businesses created hundreds of opportunities throughout the region. In the process, this also has served Michigan and the nation. We are a true Michigan pioneer, a homegrown niche publishing company.

The Business Journal reaches business leaders and decision-makers, all of whom work, live and invest in Metro Grand Rapids – West Michigan. We bring them information they can't find anywhere else. We are entirely local, locally owned and 100 percent dedicated to this region.

The Business Journal and parent Gemini Publications have been as challenged as any enterprise, sometimes in ways unique to our publishing business. Determination, skill and leadership from good people helped us compete against the many imitators. I can reflect positively on a year filled with hard work, unusual challenges and extraordinary accomplishments.

You also have weathered the economic storm these past few years by being innovative and tough, and positioning your business for future growth and success. We are stressing those same fundamentals in our forward-thinking strategy. Of course, we are proud and privileged to have played a role in your success and appreciate the trust you have placed in us. We will continue to do what you have come to expect from us, despite the ever changing media landscape.

I believe we have earned your trust over these nearly 30 years as your primary source of local business news, and we want to continue to earn that trust. In this confusing economy, trust is critical! I want to reassure you that our mission will continue, and we will remain guided by the trust you have placed in us.

And while we know your time is limited, our goal still remains to provide a single source for business news to keep you abreast of trends and help you remain competitive in the local, state and global markets. We will continue to deliver news and information that is fair, objective, informative and lively — and above all, information on major issues that will help you make educated and informed decisions.

Our advertising clients continue to support our mission with their advertising dollars. We know there are many options these days to siphon off those dollars from traditional media, but we have never been a traditional medium! From day one, our focus — and only focus — has been on the dynamic Metro Grand Rapids and West Michigan business community.

One attribute that makes us unique from other media is that we know our audiences. They are educated and enjoy reading worthwhile news and information. Yes, they read and actually do enjoy reading the Business Journal! And while various other information corporations take money out of this community, our employees live here, our business and investment decisions are based here, and our customers and service providers are local — and so are our audiences.

Our clients and subscribers recognize the difference between "stuff" — puffery, noise, inane blogs and columns, fiction — and serious journalism based on truth, fact and properly sourced content. We will continue to provide that difference because we employ a seasoned staff that is familiar with the diverse West Michigan business community and its citizens. True journalism still lives here.

Grand Rapids Business Journal is required reading for area professionals, executives and small business owners because our coverage spotlights the local players, keeps a finger on the pulse of the economy and "puts a face" on business issues. Besides providing "business scoops" and in-depth coverage, the distinguishing brand of business news coverage by the Business Journal is its dedication to analyzing trends and explaining the news. To do that, you need more than headlines and sound bites!

When we offer opinions, we clearly label them as such. There is a reason we have been successful for these nearly 30 years. We are your trusted business source, we understand the dynamics of this business community better than any other media organization, and we will continue to provide this valuable service as long as our subscribers and clients continue to believe in our mission.

I am also grateful for this community's support of our other Gemini publications: Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Family Magazine, Michigan Blue, Michigan Golf and our custom publications. Each serves a unique mission, but all strive to be the best they can be.

Many of you have told me over the years that you display these publications in your business reception areas and on your home coffee tables. You want others to see what a cool city and dynamic business community we have here.

My sincere best wishes for a new year filled with peace, promise, health, happiness and prosperity.

John H. Zwarensteyn
President/CEO/Publisher
Gemini Publications

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