Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder | Small Business Revolution: S6E1
Salesforce is committed to helping small businesses tackle big challenges. We're proud to join Deluxe and the Small Business Revolution as they help Black businesses in Minneapolis and St Paul grow their businesses in a world filled with change. To learn more, visit salesforce.com/smallbusiness.
So this might be one of the most important businesses we've ever worked with. It's a third generation newspaper. Started in 1934.
I mean, just think about the history that they've written about, witnessed. I'm excited about this one. Tracey! Amanda! Oh my goodness.
Oh, hi. Good to see you. Hi, I'm so excited to meet you.
(laughing) My pleasure. Hi. This is my mother.
Oh my gosh. I'm mommy. Just a little history about the paper. Yeah.
So my grandfather actually had this building built in 1954. And so they were out there doing all the architect, you know, kind of looking at the ground breaking. And then this was the final product. He was told that it was best to own your own building.
So they never put you out. He went on and built this building when it wasn't even really popular for a Black newspaper, you know? And we're still here. Yeah. I'm glad that you guys had some questions for me, but I have some for you. If you wouldn't mind coming into my office and joining me. Oh, here we go.
(laughing) The big interview. What got you involved with this whole project? I want to be an agent of change and I want to identify the agents of change. And so my experience here has been an understanding of the frustration of the communities and what they're reaching out for.
What they were, what they have been crying out for. Right? And so it's not like the frustration is over, but there is a hope of encouragement of positivity of the leaders, right? Stepping up of the community, people stepping up and I feel closer to this city, right? The whole reason we're bringing the Small Business Revolution home is to celebrate these incredible Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. To tell the positive side of what's happening in Minneapolis and St. Paul. That's why we're here, that's why I'm here. That's why I love what I do because it makes an impact on people's lives, you know.
I want people to look at the MSR as a role model, how to run a Black newspaper and do it right, because I love it. Small businesses across the country are fighting for their survival with the odds stacked against them. But what happens if we join that fight? If we put a little money, a lot of experience and thousands of hours of work into the entrepreneurs who are striving every day to see their businesses and their communities thrive. For years, the team traveled from one small town to the next. Putting a main street make-over into action and building a movement that is millions strong. (cheering) But 2020 changed everything.
And no one was hit harder than Black-owned businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was time for the Small Business Revolution to come home. Now, Amanda Brinkman and her team of marketing experts at Deluxe are rolling up their sleeves. Doing what they do for millions of small businesses every day. And they're not alone.
NBA All-Star turned entrepreneur Baron Davis, will help chart a course for success, while a whole cast of experts and partners line up behind some of the twin cities most important Black-owned businesses. Every episode we'll be working with a new small business to see if we can change the odds. If in a moment, unlike anything this country has ever seen, we can keep the revolution alive. - Yo, this is Tim Wilson coming to you live from Urban Lights Music in the Midway. And this goes out to the South side. (music starting) Vibrant with its green, it is almost calling you.
Bde Maka Ska, Minnehaha Falls, Loring and Powderhorn Park become places of laughter, celebration, reflection, and gathering. Still. It can be quaint in some parts, gems in the cut. Family businesses that have became marks of culture and education. Those blocks were our first schools before we even stepped foot in one.
And when you look and listen beyond what they call development, you may see what was here before the push and what stayed in spite of. Thank you to those who have witnessed and kept record. Welcome to those interested in the stories. And that want to be a part of this history. My grandfather Cecil E.Newman started the paper in 1934 and he was 17.
He was a Pullman Porter and he left Kansas City, Missouri. He wanted to come to the North where he felt like he had more opportunity here. But once he got to Minnesota, he went to a restaurant and he got a burger that was laced in salt.
So he knew that unfortunately, as much as he was hoping he is going to come into a better land of opportunity, he knew there was still a lot of racism and prejudice going on. My grandfather said, I'm going to stay right here in Minnesota and try to help the community. I've been running the paper now going on 10 years. Okay. So did you get that obituary...
Were you taken care of now? I used to watch my grandfather. He'd be in there writing, typing, and I used to just kind of look at him and think, I want to be like that one day, you know? My grandmother was here working with him. And so when he passed, she just took the paper over and she stayed with it until she was 85. But before she passed, she gave the business to me.
We bleed ink. (laughing) That's what I tell people, (laughing) since I've been around it so long. Yeah. The paper is a weekly newspaper and we come out every Thursday.
We got a total of six people on our staff right now. We're just on a grind, you know? This paper is done. Okay. Now the next paper, okay. This paper is okay. Now the next paper, let's keep going, you know. - [Mel Reeves] Tracey's been consistent in determining that the doors are going to stay open.
I've watched it go through some tough times, making sure that the community had this voice. We just watched two newspapers fold and I wasn't bringing a paycheck home for almost a year. It was terrible. It was a bad time, but we've been publishing 52 times a year. I haven't missed a publication since it started. 1934.
Haven't missed one. So you were just protesting when someone walk across- He was just gonna walk across the stage. Okay. I really like being able to tell our stories from the perspective of working class and middle class, Black folks. You notice, you know, we kind of don't mess around.
We tell the truth as we see it. And so I relish the opportunity to do that. Especially being from South side Minneapolis, I actually get to do it for my community and I'm from this community.
So I have that cultural connection. While I was in prison, the Spokesman-Recorder started printing my articles. Then anytime I got it in the paper, they really ran exactly what I said. In the column called Bridging the Gap, it was our bridge to the community to talk about the current issues that was going on in Minnesota correctional facilities.
This paper is a paper that's for the community, by the community, to the community. That's from a completely different lens. And that's kind of how our newsroom is run to make people feel like it's their paper.
Part of what makes MSR so dope is that it's both a nationally important news source and still a local paper. The Spokesman been reporting out of South Minneapolis for a long time. And that neighborhood has always been a defining part of what they are in good times and bad.
We were lucky enough to get a tour and a history lesson of the South side from a Minneapolis icon, Anthony Taylor. And you imagine, this corner was an economic center. There were businesses on every corner and the Tilsenbilt Homes that were built here, 90% went to African-American families. It was the first actually integrated housing development that was done in the country.
This idea of social justice and business intersecting goes way back in this community. That movement of black people from the South was an immigrant experience. And when you, when immigrants move into a community, the first thing they do is create businesses to support their cultural reality. Right? So newspapers and especially Black newspapers were really about striving and liberation.
And what they were doing was documenting the progress of black life. The debutantes, the church pavilion, you know, the holidays, the weddings, the graduations that says you are human. You are vital, you are important. You are, you know, achieving. So there was a conscious effort to build the confidence in black people's mind. And so the South side is no different. We once had, in the days of segregation in many communities, a more distinct and diverse Black community.
Those Black businesses serve the needs of the Black community. They were those who supported civil rights because their livelihood did not depend on a job working for someone else. When segregation fell, mainstream businesses began to serve Black customers.
Many of these businesses either sold or went by the wayside. That is not to say that the community was better off in the days of segregation. It is to understand why we have to rebuild a strong, viable Black business community. You know, I feel like that's a common thing in America when it comes to like the evolution of Black communities. So it's not really an evolution.
It's kinda like you got to start over and reinvent yourself, start over and reinvent yourself. But Tracey and I walking this together and talking about this is symbolic of the fact that we've been here and we're still here. And that only a few blocks from George Floyd Square, there's a documentation of 70 years of black life that has been vital. It's normalizing the possibility of success. I know that the paper makes a difference in people's lives. So that keeps me motivated.
We are informing the community and we're educating them and we're enlightening them and putting light on where light needs to be. Good or bad. You would think after 86 years, that stories wouldn't have the same headlines, but they do. And that's, what's kind of disheartening.
When is this ever going to stop, you know? You always have to fight the fight. I hope that what happens right now is that we know this is a long game. That is an intergenerational game. We're still storytellers, right? And so the newspaper, the importance of it is documenting the collective experience we're having, in this moment. And to realize that this trauma is collective, that we, that it doesn't happen in isolation.
And so therefore we have to take care of ourselves and each other. It's really, really critical because we have to be vital to be in the long game. It's been tough.
It's been a real sad year for me. I lost my husband to the pandemic. Gotta keep going. Yeah. You can't crawl up and die somewhere
because you lost somebody that you love dearly. I sit at my grandfather's desk. It's a lot of weight on me. Without us, there would not be a voice for the voiceless. Ms. Tracey is holding onto something
that is extremely valuable. And she knows her responsibility and she knows where she needs to get to. I think we can actually give them the kind of glue that they need to continue to carry on, but also to help amplify the newspaper. When you step inside the MSR, you can feel the weight of history in the walls. In all the work we'll do with Tracey, from branding to operations, to working on the building itself, we have a responsibility to do justice to that legacy. And we found the right person to help.
Dr. Frances "Toni" Draper publishes The AFRO out of Baltimore, where she's doubled the organization's online following in the last year. Oh yeah. And the paper was founded in 1892 by Dr. Draper's great-grandfather. And to round out the conversation, our partners at Salesforce introduced us to one of their favorite customers, Shonnah Hughes. She's here as a technology and customer relationship expert for MSR.
And as it turns out, it's a small world. What are you doing here? (laughing) How you doing? I'm good. Good! And Toni, I've heard a lot about you. So good to meet you. My pleasure. Welcome to Minnesota. Thank you.
All right. Let's just start with the mural right here. All right. Okay. So we got me, we got my mother Norma, then my grandmother Launa, then my uncle Jack Jackman, and then we've got Gordon Parks who actually got his start here at the MSR. And then we got my grandfather, Cecil Newman.
That's quite a legacy. So back when my grandfather first had this building built, he had like raised lettering on it. It was really cool. So that's what I want, to see that again.
And then of course, unfortunately this happened the night that they had the verdict, they tagged my building. We're going to get that off of there. So one of the visions that I have for this space is I want to see these redone. I think this is wonderful.
It's been here for a hundred years, it's time for it to be, have a fresher look. So this is our boardroom, and this actually was the room that we actually laid the paper up back in the day. We had the grid sheets. Yep. And you lay them out on the board. Yes. Yep.
And then, and then you had to put the lines on. All of that. This room was that room. Okay.
I want a new table, Amanda. And that table you shall have. (laughing) Now, this is actually my grandfather's original office. Which you see, I still have his name on the door. Is that grandfather's desk? Oh, right.
And this is my grandfather's original desk. Some other offices need new desks. This one's history. There's this like very fine balance between like modernizing some things, but still paying tribute to the history. This building means so much. So. It does.
I want to show you our archives. These go back to the beginning of time. It'll be better when it's digitized, then you don't have to worry about, you know, crumbling And destroyed.
Right. So that's where your value is. It's in those photographs because there are companies now that are paying a lot for those pictures. When you think about the stories that live in, you know, just this one room, how are you using technology to be a little bit more organized and store that data to make sure that people are aware of the good work that you're doing in the community. - All of our papers are, are archived within our website.
So that's how we keep up with that for now. Awesome. I'm sure there's better ideas. Yeah. (laughing) I do have some better ideas. I knew you did.
Having gotten the full tour, Shonnah went back to work with the Salesforce team on more ways to implement technology at MSR while Dr. Draper and I sat down with Tracey for a look at the business side of the paper. I mean, this is incredible, to be with two legends in the publishing space. So I think I'm just going to sit here and listen. So you started at 11? 11.
And I started at eight. Okay, so we have similar stories. I'm always thinking about what can we do differently? So my role really is to build the team. And everybody's a part. First of all, I don't know how to do everything.
Things change so fast. Right. Right. In this, in this ever evolving media industry.
Let's talk a little about just the newspaper business model or the publishing business model. The model has always been that advertising revenue supports a newspaper. Content pushed circulation, circulation pushed advertising.
So it just went that way. And it was all in the print edition. Well, we're not in a print only environment any longer. And so the models have changed. And so how you monetize even social media has changed.
Because your website traffics what the advertiser's looking for. - Well, and I think as we continue to think about growing MSR's audience and reach, we're thinking through it digital first in terms of consumption. But trying to get the old school to come into the new school is a challenge. What we found, Tracey, for us, is that we need two separate strategies for print and for digital, right.
Take what you've done for the print edition or vice versa and just tailor it. And then that takes additional staff, Right. Because the mindset is not the same. The person who really likes to write the 1200 words, is not thinking social media strategy and not thinking website.
Right. It's hard when you have a small staff. The other thing too, is that the social media companies, they have grants. So for example, Report for America, they will place a journalist in your newsroom.
You pay half, they pay half. Nice. Now it's competitive. You have to apply for it.
Right. Right, right. So we have a Report for America journalist coming. Okay. - We have an HBCU student coming through Facebook. They're paying for them to just do Instagram this summer.
That's all they're going to do. We've doubled our news from almost... - [Tracey Williams-Dillard] Wow. - You're for-profit right. You're not. So we don't usually think about raising funds from philanthropy to fund our newsroom. Okay.
I feel a spreadsheet coming up. I do too. You guys are very creative though there. It's a blessing because we've been around a long time. It's a challenge because we've been around a long time. Right, right. Right
The Black press is thriving now, but we don't want it to be a fad. No, we don't want it to be this year. It can't be on the backs of all of the sad news that we've had. That's with celebrating also. And that helps to lift all of us. I'm so excited about what you guys are doing. - [Tracey Williams-Dillard] Thank you.
I'm excited about meeting you and learning more about what you do. Yep. And we're going to be borrowing a lot of things from you. So let's just keep, let's keep, Let's keep doing it.
(laughing) Let's keep doing it. Yeah. - [Amanda Brinkman] As guests extra scope, Dr. Draper really brought it. Her understanding of the media landscape and how to position The AFRO brand within it is so broad. - [Amanda Brinkman] So with the marketing team at Deluxe, gathering to begin work on MSR, I asked her and Baron, a man with crazy good branding instincts to come to the creative lab and think about the best way to approach the work. We need to figure out how do we honor the legacy, the history, but modernize it a bit more so that we can really appeal to digital audiences and talk a little bit more about the future, rather than it just being a reflection of the past.
- I would love to see like visually a reflection of like celebrating the legacy and it's just not seen, right. It's like, you know, there needs to be a flamboyance. Absolutely.
And we want to let them know that they're standing on the shoulders of Kings and Queens. Absolutely. They can go back and see, okay, this person lived in my community and this person made this contribution.
So I can do that as well. But I also want to say that we're still in the throws of trying to understand one another. Yes. And so the Black newspaper is not just for the Black community. That's right.
It's for everybody. Most importantly, it's for everybody else as well, too. Right. And so, I think that's a branding and marketing question. Yeah. So that MSR is in your face.
Yeah, absolutely. You cannot ignore them. Absolutely.
So when CNN wants to, or any other larger group wants to talk about what's happening in Minneapolis, they cannot bypass MSR. Exactly. What we're doing for MSR, our team doesn't see it as traditional marketing. We see it as a way to amplify a business that everyone in the twin cities, everyone in the state of Minnesota and even outside our state should know about.
Marketing, it's vital to MSR's future. - [Amanda Brinkman] One of the first steps in a brand update is the logo. With a business this iconic, that conversation can sometimes be a non-starter.
But Tracey was open to exploring new ideas. When that's in print, it'll be so much more livelier than that purple brown color. Ah, the logos. (laughing) - So we got into a kind of, kind of taking this brand.
And I know you said you wanted to kind of go for a little bit more of a youthful audience while maintaining your Curent client. Some, a little bit modern. Some, very traditional. This one was probably most similar to your current logo. That's it.
We've seen it. We like, this is hot. We love it. We wentmin and we applied the color, jumps off the page. I love it.
And I even picture this on like merchandise or, you know, people are gonna want to wear this on a hat, on a sweatshirt. Do you sell merchandise right now? Not yet. What? Oh, you're going to have to now. Now we're going to add that to the list. Yes. We also talked about apparel, of course.
T-shirts, sweatshirts. It's another revenue stream for them. The possibility of adding new revenue streams to MSR's business model has the Deluxe team excited.
But we also want to help however we can with their core business. Reporting the news. That means bringing in our partners at Lenovo to build an upgraded technology package for Tracey and her reporters. So Ms. Tracey, how old are the devices that you guys are using in the office? Mine is the newest and mine is like six years old.
So definitely time for a tune-up, it sounds like. So this is my editor's office. So this is his computer he works on and it's slow. And you see he's got his own laptop there. So have you run into an issue where your battery is about to die, for example? Absolutely. You got a laptop for us that the battery doesn't die, we're down for it.
(laughing) So this is our newsroom. And you're all doing video collaboration in this space or where is that being done? Here is where the goal is that we're going to get to. - [Amanda Brinkman] With Lenovo updating MSR's technology infrastructure, Shonnah Hughes and Salesforce have been thinking about how the paper can use technology systems to better understand their readership. So you know who your visitors are to your website, your readers. You automatically book them into the category in which you've already designed to say, this is how we are going to market to this particular age group, or this is how we're going to market to this particular region.
You can find out, okay, this is what interests them. And you can actually create and build a campaign. Right. That makes sense. Yeah. Tracey is an amazing individual who is selfless and gives back to the community and Salesforce being a CRM, which is a customer relationship manager, really helps you manage those relationships. So to be able to help them make an impact has been something that I consider a blessing. - [Amanda Brinkman] Back at MSR, renovations are getting underway.
We have contractors, reporters and the publisher herself, all dancing around each other because unlike some businesses, MSR can't just shut down for a few days. That weekly publishing streak currently sits at 87 years and they aren't about to break it now. When I went into the MSR, it's kind of like dated. Beyond dated. They need to be reflected on the inside and the outside, right. With a modern spirit, right.
To bring them into the times because they're important. - [Amanda Brinkman] For almost 70 years, MSR's building has stood as a symbol of the paper's credibility. But as we think about the online brand, we have to realize that most people consume reputable news sources like MSR on the same social media platforms, where they post about their caps. One of the things we want to make sure that we do is verify your Facebook page so that when your news story show up in people's feeds, it has the right verification against it. So people know that it's coming from an authentic new source. Okay.
Did you know that was a thing? I didn't. But I'm loving it. Good, good. But the other thing we want to do is make sure that we clean your Google my business page. This will really allow us to expand your story to again, be very clear to the internet when people are searching, that you are a verified news outlet to source. Okay. Great. Taking a look at Tracey's business from all angles is not only going to help her with her direct marketing efforts, but also to that other revenue stream, which is, you know, being the recipient of grants and fellowships.
The fact that Toni Draper has entered this picture and partnered up with Tracey is remarkable. They're both looking towards the future. They're not living in the past. I think our opportunity here is, is huge, to get them type of grants. It's just having the resources.
Like you afford it Toni, to have somebody that can just focus in on that. We don't have anybody dedicated to just writing grants, but it's a team effort. One thing that was very helpful for us is, we created a sample grants doc in a shared folder. And because of the template that was developed, we could pull out some of the things that they were asking fairly quickly.
And they just got all these wonderful, young people with wonderful ideas that is really helping their newspaper to soar. I think we're really looking to better inform all of our decisions through data analytics. Consistent posting. That was a big thing that we had to push. We've been learning a lot of cool new skills that we're implementing on the website. Down to like changing the color of a button to see if that gets more clicks.
And you could see the passion in each one of them. And that was really, really cool. Utilize the youth. The youth definitely have something to say.
So listen to us. And I promise you, it's gonna zoom. - [Amanda Brinkman] Between applying for grants, adding revenue streams, and hopefully growing the staff, we are adding a lot of work to Tracey's plate. So we want to do whatever we can to take things off. Deluxe is providing you with a year of payroll services.
Whatever we can do to skim time off the top. - [Linda Novitt] So these payroll systems, when you automate them, they pay all the taxes for you. If you're running the same payroll over and over, then it's just a couple of clicks of a button every week.
And Tracey can process that anywhere, right? So if she's not in the office, she doesn't have to wait until she goes back in the next morning. Right. Exactly. There's an app for that. (laughing) You can be sitting on the beach and get your payroll processed.
I like. This is sounding good. I thought you guys were my girls, but now. (laughing) Since we're already talking about payroll, it's a good time to meet up with our partners from U.S Bank and have Nadine Seivert take a deep dive
into the numbers. For many entrepreneurs, cracking open the books is a scary moment. With Ms. Tracey, things went a little differently.
- Things are coming along quite well. So a lot of the advertising revenue came from the pandemic and then George Floyd ended up bringing awareness to a lot of corporations about the need to do business with a Black newspaper. So that is also, had an impact in my business.
So to be able to grow your business, grow the staff, and sharing the news right, is most important. So that other people understand what's going on and have a paper that they can rely on. So tell me about the different revenue streams for your newspaper. - I say the print is our main breadwinner for it.
So that may be about 50% then between all the other ones, it's 50, when you take the online and you take any sponsorship and subscribers. - [Nadine Seivert] Sure. So what plan do you have in place knowing that, you know, the consumer is changing where a lot of times it's on social media or it's on the internet.
For that I have a salesperson, it's his main focus, is doing social media online. I hired some guys from D.C to help me sell. And so they're just, they're on fire right now. Salesperson is new this year? - Yep. I just brought them in this year. And just recently we're looking at a grant that we're asking for 10 years. We'll see what... we're asking for the sky, we'll see what we get. Okay.
But that's going to be able to help me fund additional sales reps and writers. Which will provide us with an opportunity for our numbers to grow and as we reach more people, we're able to ask for more money. - [Nadine Seivert] Good. And what I love hearing
is that you understand your consumer, you understand your readers and who's doing what. And really being able to pivot or change how you are doing your advertising so that that revenue stream is consistent. If not, actually growing. Well it sounds like you're on the right track. I'm excited. - Thank you.
It's awesome. - [Amanda Brinkman] So Tracey has the paper's finances on lock. But the business's technology is still almost a decade behind.
Kelly Darden has been working with Tracey to fix that. So we're meeting back up with him at the historic Penumbra Theatre in Rondo. To see what Lenovo has put together.
Ms. Tracey, how are you doing? Good to see you. Good to see you. I feel like I'm talking to family right now. I'm so glad to see you today. Me too.
- [Kelly Darden] So let's look at some of the solutions that we have for you guys. We want to make sure that your entire staff is going to have mobile laptops. Our X1 Carbon is the thin and light performance notebook that has a rapid charge and a high resolution camera built into the notebook.
MSR had a lot of boots on the ground, especially over the last year with the Chauvin trial. And so to have access to technology for their field reporters was critical. This cool nifty device right here is our Hub 500. So whenever you have a teams call you literally just come in, touch one button.
That's paired with our ThinkSmart camera here. We're just talking about Jetson stuff going on here. - [Amanda Brinkman] I know, it's incredible. - [Kelly Darden] Now, technology doesn't always have to be challenging. So if you have someone in the field and let's say their screen just goes blue, they can have a technician come out to them onsite, 24 hours later, to make sure their downtime is minimal.
Wow. It's like you just built out your entire IT department. I'm just in awe right now. You took me from the Stone Age to the Jetson age. (laughing) - [Amanda Brinkman] Dr. Draper was right.
There were a lot of companies out there who were eager to support MSR's work. So we kept asking and people kept showing up to help. 3M is wrapping the entire entryway and newsroom for free. And Ideal Commercial Interiors, one of the twin cities most successful black owned businesses, put together a full slate of new office furniture. All of it means that Deluxe's renovation dollars can go that much further.
And while our office is filled with contractors, we invited Tracey to the creative lab to talk about one of our favorite parts of the process. In years past, we traditionally, at the end of the episode, at the end of the process, we surprised the business with something. This year, we thought it'd be really fun to instead gift you with $5,000. Okay. To pay it forward to someone else and surprise them.
Okay. So it can be a nonprofit, it can be another business. Just someone else that you think within the community is deserving. How cool is that going to be. Any ideas? Yeah. It's a secret.
- It's a secret? (laughing) No telling. No telling Tracey, tell me. (laughing) No, it's going to be The Prison Mirror.
It's another newspaper in Minnesota. And they have, you know, they work with a lot of the inmates there and a lot of the inmates do all the writing. It gives the inmates an opportunity to have a voice.
You know, when you think about the impact that it has on people that are locked up, you know, that are being able to stay connected. So they come out and there's a better chance of them making it because they have a connection. Yeah.
Yeah. - To be able to go back and define that talent, nurture that talent, bring them back into society and highlight their superpower. That's bigger than a second chance. Yeah.
This is one of the reasons that I thought it would be cool to help pay it forward. I'm anxious to see the surprise on their face. That's going to be really cool. - [Baron Davis] In America. We do a terrible job of nurturing our history. We have to do a better job of kind of unearthing these stories.
We have to listen to The Prison Mirror, right? We have to read the MSR, right? Because it's putting us right in the fabric of where everything is hot. These are historians in our community. So how long has The Prison Mirror been published now? So this has been since 1887.
It was 50 dollars that they started with and they were part of the Jesse James gang. Part of Jesse James gang. We're the longest continually published prison newspaper, I believe in the nation. Particularly in a prison like this life doesn't stop just because you're locked up.
And so it gives me an opportunity to inspire them and try to spark that empowerment. - If I can contribute something positive, giving voice to some of the marginalized communities, even within this pocket environment of prison. And that just like, they're just as human as anybody else out there in the world. What is your dream piece to write? A dream piece would be like a big display on a paper saying prison no longer needed. (laughing) That would be a great story. People don't know how they can help.
Once you re-enter back into society. And if they learn more about that here in The Prison Mirror, we can republish them in MSR. I definitely appreciate that. And having the courage to tell the community, these voices deserve to be heard.
- With all that being said, as far as how we can support you Deluxe Corporation gave me the opportunity to pay it forward. To give you gentlemen a $5,000 check so they can help you do your work. New Caption Just to know that they have an opportunity to reach out to a broader audience through the MSR. And to know that people will hear them. It means everything to me, it means everything.
That's what the MSR is all about. We give voice to the voiceless. It has been an amazing thing spending the last several months with Tracey. She carries her responsibilities with such grace. She knows what she believes and she's unwavering in her mission.
As work wraps up on MSR's building, technology and brand, Baron, Toni and I are thrilled to be heading back to the South side. To mark another small chapter in a storied history. Good to see you. I'm so excited to show Toni the new space. Hey Toni, you're looking fabulous. Wow.
Didn't they do a fantastic job? Incredible. And it kind of honors the look that was in here previously, but just makes it a little bit modern. A little bit modern, a little lighter. I want to show you some more of the building. This is the wow factor. Wow. Tracey, you're exactly right.
I'm gonna take me a little selfie right here now. Just like, you know, you got the... Good selfie. Hey, I got to post this.
And now when we have our board meetings, it's like, people can come and go, wow, okay. This little paper's, hot rock. And it's like, So here's my office. We got new carpet and we did paint the walls. And then of course, all these chairs are brand new in here. I think they're cool. The walls weren't this color.
- [Tracey Williams-Dillard] They were not, and that's something that's beautiful. It makes the hallway look bright. I mean, and vibrant. I just, I love the colors. Is this the same place? Look at this. It's unbelievable. Man, this is so exciting.
I'm so happy for you. Sometimes you get stuck in a trench, which is where I was, you know, I'm just, a little engine trying to make... And with the rebrand, it feels like we're starting another chapter, and we're moving forward. That makes a huge difference. - [Amanda Brinkman] So this is my favorite part because we've been talking for months about different elements of the branding and ideas for marketing, but this is the day we get to see it all come together.
So this was the existing logo. That manifested itself into your new logo. I know, how cool is that? Well I think it really does capture the energy that Tracey wants to convey. That's great. So you want to see what this new brand looks like on some different elements? I do. So this is your current website and we weren't going to redesign your site. You've got a great web team.
So how do we apply some of this new branding and this look and feel? Oh... Nice. That is really nice. That is really nice. So it's the same great content. It is.
And by just bringing those colors to life and rounding out some of the corners, you're going to just kind of add some modern flare. It does. I love it. I love it. I just love this look. Re-skinning an already well-constructed website is a lot easier than building one from scratch. Which means our team had more time to devote to all the different manifestations of the brand.
And that starts with the paper itself. All right. So speaking of the front of the paper. Oh nice! I like, oh, look at the 87. That look there reminds me of the different colors.
It reminds me of the website. It's got kind of that website feel. Exactly. So it also says that you're here for the long term. For the long term. We have great history. Your paper does. My paper does.
But you here for the long term and you're willing to change and do what, you still have, the content is there. It's informing and educating and inspiring the community. And we're giving them the news that matters. - [Amanda Brinkman] With MSR's subscribership already growing, we want to give Tracey and her staff a classy on-brand way to reach out to that database of existing readers. Letting them know about everything from events and speakers, to important local news.
Let's talk a little bit about email. So this is kind of your current welcome email when someone subscribes. And so just adding just a little bit more, telling them what they can expect from you. As well as of course adding the logo in as well. Yep. Nice, nice. Yep.
All right. So are you ready for some swag? I'm ready. All right. So this is your new logo
on some great coffee mugs. You can give it to loyal customers. Did you say give away? Thank you so much. (laughing) Then we want great t-shirts, of course.
Nice. All right. And then on the back. Oh yeah.
- [Amanda Brinkman] MSR has so many ways they can use branded merch. Subscriber gifts, advertiser thank yous, event giveaways. The right t-shirt can turn an intern into an advocate. These really cool notebook wraps, even a simple notebook sleeve can lend a freelance reporter, the paper's credibility. And those are just the freebies. An icon like MSR is going to be able to sell this stuff too.
And in the newspaper business, every dollar counts. Nice. Wow, that's incredible.
That is hot. - [Amanda Brinkman] At the bottom here. We have the year, so you could do one of these each year.
From that year's important stories. And you could see how this would become a collector's item. Something that people are paying for or anticipating That look like you. (laughing) I know. - [Baron Davis] Ms. Tracey is just the best. You want to ask her, like, what can I do to help? Right. You don't mind getting your orders,
you know, from Ms. Tracey. All right, then we have these great umbrellas. Have you seen these with this kind of handle? I don't know them. It's a super cool umbrella.
So let's see what it looks like on the, oh, is this bad luck? Yeah, do not do that. (laughing) Boom! I think it's a great reflection of your energy and what you put into it and the legacy. And, and now being here now, it's like, this is where I want to see you. That's all, alright.
You know, when I was walking in. It was never lost on the team. Kind of the, the gravity and the importance of what you do here at MSR. I mean, the very item that we mocked up is our historic headline.
And it was the paper that was in front of us the first day we started working with you. It's been an honor for us to be able to bring this kind of branding and marketing, just to continue to accelerate this incredibly important work that you're doing. Good for you. - [Tracey Williams-Dillard] Yeah, yeah. It's exciting. All of it's exciting.
I can't hardly sleep at night. I'm like, oh, this is all just a dream come true. Yeah. It's overwhelming. It's like, it's a wonderful gift that God gave me through Deluxe and through the program. This is unbelievable.
I lost my husband in December of last year. And he was... He was my supporter of the paper.
Knowing that the paper came from bad place to now a good place. If he would have been here right now, he would have been so happy and so excited, you know. My grandmother, I wish she was here cause she wouldn't believe it either. My grandfather who started the paper.
It's an unbelievable blessing. I feel better now than ever about the MSR. Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode. Deluxe is passionate about supporting small businesses and we are honored to bring the Small Business Revolution home to Minnesota.
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The East side of St. Paul here, it's got so much heritage and roots. With an owner who puts community first. We all kind of just look at each other as family. I can't even name the number of people that he's like a mentor to.
But can the shop recover after a turbulent year? There are so many barriers set up for Black owned businesses. It is just an increased barrier in so many different ways. Watch the Deluxe Small Business Revolution team keep this business thriving. On the next episode of Small Business Revolution.