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Business of the Month: August 2021

The Northwoods Review

Congratulations to: 

The Northwoods Review 

August Business of the Month

8305 Main Street Lower Level

Presque Isle, WI 54557

Phone: (262) 221-2465

It was a pleasure sitting down recently with Rebecca Nelsen, co-founder of the new Northwoods Review community newspaper to learn about the paper and why, in addition to the other fabulous local media, they are a critical news source for six townships in Northern Wisconsin and UP.

What is the Northwoods Review? And, tell us about yourselves as entrepreneurs. 

The Northwoods Review is the new local newspaper that connects six townships in our area. These towns are Marenisco, MI, Presque Isle, Boulder Junction, Manitowish Waters, Mercer, and Winchester. It is a platform for us to promote our local communities, bring facts and positive news to the area and work towards being able to give back as much as possible to the communities we serve. Our office is based out of Presque Isle. We moved here in October of 2021 to get out of the city and raise our five kids in the Northwoods. My family has vacationed in Boulder Junction for many years and my parents now own a home between Eagle River and Three Lakes.

Why was it important for you to start this business?

It was important for us to start this business for a couple of reasons. 1. There was a need to connect the communities with local news. We had been told time and time again that people are so grateful that we cover only the local towns. People want to hear what is going on in their neighborhoods 2. As a community there is a need to build relationships and communicate within our townships. If Covid taught us anything it was that keeping people apart and lack of community do major damage to the emotional and mental health. 3. Build the Bridge. When we first moved here a very wise man named Jimmy Dean Van Rossum told me the most important thing I would implement when starting our business: Be the Bridge. Our job is to bring communities together and build the communities up with our newspaper.

What impact are you making with your new business?

From the feedback we have received, the impact that we have had on the communities is a positive one. We have been able to weave community service and outreach into our business, while informing the communities of the important events that are happening around them each day.

We were introduced to the idea in the fall of 2020 by Janice Peterson, who owns the Serenity Salon in Presque Isle. We implemented a business plan in January of 2021. We had lots of support from the residents in Presque Isle, but were unsure of how the other townships would receive us. Other newspapers have come before us and we wanted to uphold that long standing tradition as a small-town newspaper and have a positive impact on the communities we serve.

We started our business with $15,000 of our savings. This helped us to launch the business. We did not require any loans and to this day do not have any debt related to the business. Since April of 2021, what started as a small investment in our future has grown by 600% and enabled us to give back to the community in a couple different ways. 1. We have been able to gift advertising space to families in need to promote fundraising events, 2. We have launched a back-to-school initiative to help raise funds and collect school supplies for North Lakeland Elementary School. 3. We have been able to be a springboard for new businesses to help them grow with advertising stories called, “Meet Your Neighbor.” 4. By live streaming town board meetings, we have been able to bring awareness of current events within the different townships. On Fridays at the local farmer’s markets, we hand out free books for kids and teens to help get them off their devices and into a good book.

Most importantly, we have been able to be a beacon of hope and information to the local towns and those who live there. We have many more plans on the horizon and can’t wait to share the stories, historical moments, and interviews of some of our oldest founding families.

We respect the newspapers that have come before us and do our best to help continue the legacy they have created.

How many contractors do you employ?

Currently we have 1 contractor, and we are actively seeking 2-3 more with open positions for Advertising Sales Reps, a High School Sports reporter, and a Social Media Manager. My husband is the graphic designer and layout editor. We also have two assisting editors Joan McDonald who is the original owner of the FYI, a newspaper that originated in Presque Isle, WI and Ann Orwig, who is a founding member of the Manitowish Waters Women’s Service League.

We have contributing writers and photographers. The advertisers and community members are the backbone of our community and this paper. Without them and our mentors, none of this would be possible. Our foundation in our Christian faith has been the keystone to our success. We are forever grateful to all of those who have helped us along the way and encouraged us.

What is your model for growth?

Our model for growth is to start small as we have and do it well. Anything worth doing, is worth doing to the best of one’s ability. We are growing quickly. That is for sure. What started off as 20 pages is now up to 36 pages. We have advertisers from all our townships. We continue to fill the gaps in coverage. This time next year we are hoping to have double the number of advertisers which enables us to give back twice as much.

Congratulations to the Northwoods Review!

If you have a Vilas County business that you would like to nominate for a Business of the Month Award, please contact Kathy Schmitz, VCEDC Executive Director, at [email protected]

Do you know of a wonderful Vilas County business?

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