In June of 1998, we published the first edition of Delta Business Journal. From then to now, that’s 240 issues and roughly 20,600 pages for those who are counting. With this edition, we are delighted to celebrate our 20th year in business.
Our journey in the magazine and newspaper publishing business actually began in Jackson back in 1989 with our introduction of the business publication, Forward Mississippi. Soon after, we purchased the assets of the old Jackson Journal of Business which had taken bankruptcy. We revamped the publication, changing the name to the Jackson Business Journal, and cut our teeth with it learning the publishing business during those next several years. But, by the late nineties the Delta was calling us home. So, Cindy and I sold those publications and moved back here in order to start a business journal for the Delta.
With a stack of old Jackson Business Journals in hand to show as an example of what I had in mind for the Delta, I made the rounds meeting with several of the region’s business leaders to announce the idea of a new business journal. Not only did I need their advice, but just as important I needed their advertising dollars for our new business journal to have a chance.
Based upon the recommendation from my good friend, Mike McCall, longtime publisher of The Catfish Journal, my first stop was at the offices of Delta Council in Stoneville where I met Chip Morgan and Frank Howell for the first time. The DBJ idea was well received by them and then Chip gave me a crucially important tip that turned out to be a game-changer: “Go see these people,” he said as he jotted down the names of several on a small piece of paper and handed it to me.
A day later, I met with the late Roger Malkin, who at the time was CEO of Delta and Pine Land Company. Then, meetings took place with Willis Frazer, the late Willis Connell and the late George Walker in Clarksdale; Dr. Kent Wyatt, Ned Mitchell and the late Ed Kossman in Cleveland; the late Bill Gresham and John McPherson in Indianola; Woods Eastland, Allan Hammons, Alex Malouf, the late Willis Brumfield in Greenwood; Billy Percy, Clarke Reed, and the late Chuck Jordan in Greenville; and Bryan Jones in Yazoo City. There were others I also met with before that first edition was published. These wonderful Deltans provided me with excellent advice and the support I needed to get the DBJ off the ground. I will forever be in their debt.
The creation of the Delta Business Journal also gave birth to other businesses: our advertising and marketing firm Coopwood Communications in 1999; Cypress Design, our website development and hosting firm (later renamed RainWater Web) in 2001; in 2003 we launched Delta Magazine and in 2004 opened an office in Jackson; 2008 we entered the weekly newspaper publishing business, with The Cleveland Current and The Oxford Enterprise; in 2014 we began publishing the annual Welcome Guide magazine and this past January we started the quarterly Delta Ag Journal magazine.
Over the years, we have published countless pro-business articles on the Mississippi Delta and featured many deserving Deltans on the cover. Also during the past twenty years we have assisted some of the main-stream media outlets with stories on the Delta such as The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, ABC, NBC, National Public Radio, People Magazine, the BBC, and The New York Times.
During the past two decades many employees have passed through our doors who worked hard to insure the DBJ was the best it could be. Three have been on board since day one such as Sandra Goff. In fact, when we owned the Jackson publications, Sandra was our first employee. Sandra is in charge of the wonderful DBJ layouts. Emma Jean Thompson, is not only our bookkeeper but everyone’s “mother” here at our office! Roy Meeks, our long time photographer has also been with the DBJ since the first day. And, Holly Tharp, our business manager and the wearer of many hats in our businesses, joined us a year or so later as did Ann Nestler one of our account representatives. Today, the DBJ is managed by Pam Parker who has done an outstanding job of maintaining the quality readers expect and Pam continues to move us forward into new and exciting frontiers.
Celebrating this milestone would have never been possible without the longtime support of our readers and advertisers over the years. You will never know how much we appreciate you. Here’s to another twenty.