Atlantic News: A Beacon of Resilience in the Changing Tides of Print Media
The Legacy of the Atlantic News
In 1973, a unique business venture took shape in the form of Atlantic News, a newsstand situated in Halifax. This platform was envisioned to offer an array of magazines from different parts of the globe, enabling readers to tap into diverse perspectives and narratives. The torch of this business was passed onto Michele and Stephen Gerrard in 1998, following the demise of the original owner, Pat Doherty, in 1991.
Print Industry’s Shift and Survival of Atlantic News
When the Gerrards took over, the print industry was thriving, with magazines being a popular medium of information and entertainment. However, the rise of the internet signified a pivotal shift in the industry, challenging the relevance and survival of traditional print media. The impact of this digital revolution led to the closure of numerous newsstands. Yet, against all odds, Atlantic News continues to stand tall as the sole newsstand in Halifax to this day.
How did Atlantic News manage to survive the digital onslaught? According to the Gerrards, the secret lies in running a well-organized business and offering a product that still holds value for its customers. They also credit their ability to adapt and evolve in line with the changing times.
Adaptation: The Key to Survival
One of the significant steps the Gerrards took was partnering with PressReader in the early 2000s, which facilitated on-demand printing of global newspapers. This move was instrumental in keeping the newsstand relevant in an increasingly digital world. Additionally, when The Globe and Mail print edition ceased its distribution in Nova Scotia, they arranged for the copies to be flown in for their customers, ensuring uninterrupted access to the beloved print edition.
Expanding Horizons: Beyond Magazines
Over the years, Atlantic News has diversified its product range, adding books, games, puzzles, and pieces by local artists to its inventory. This expansion has been crucial in attracting a wider customer base and maintaining the shop’s relevance.
While the store’s inventory has decreased from 5,700 titles to around half that number due to a changing marketplace and the rise of smartphones and social media, the Gerrards believe there is a resurgent demand for print. This demand is particularly noticeable among people experiencing screen fatigue, further emphasizing the continuing relevance of print media.
A Window to History and a Marker of Resilience
The Gerrards’ journey with Atlantic News has provided them with a front-row seat to significant historical events as they unfolded across the globe. From the tragic events of 9/11 to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, their newsstand bore witness to these events through the magazines on their shelves.
The survival and success of Atlantic News are a testament to the resilience and adaptability of print media. Having recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, this Halifax newsstand stands as a beacon of endurance in a rapidly evolving industry, reminding us of Charles Darwin’s timeless insight: “It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
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