by MALCOLM ABRAMS
This is the 89th edition of Bloom Magazine and the thinnest issue ever—even smaller than the first issue published in August 2006. But we are still here, and we hope to be for years to come.
For Bloom, for other local small businesses, and for people generally, the past year has been about survival. And if you happen to be over 70 with a preexisting condition, it has really been about survival.
Being one of those septuagenarians, I briefly considered retirement, or, at the very least, shutting down the magazine temporarily and staying home until the threat passed and the economy recovered. But I didn’t want to.
I love making the magazine, working with my colleagues, and interacting with writers, photographers, advertisers, suppliers, and readers. I have a terrific staff that I did not want to let go because they are nice, hard- working people, and because, selfishly, if I were to restart the magazine, I might not be able to get them back.
We all know the hardships this business community has endured. No Indiana University in-person graduation, football, or basketball games left hotels and restaurants empty at what would normally be their busiest and most lucrative times. Retail establishments were closed, then reopened partially but with far fewer customers. Some very fine businesses shut their doors forever.
For Bloom, it has meant blow after blow as advertisers fell away.
Survival. Bloom applied for and received two government Paycheck Protection Program grants that helped enormously, and a couple of small grants as well. We cut costs by repurposing editorial content from the past 14-plus years and finding other ways to save. We made the magazines smaller.
And we launched a GoFundMe campaign. Although we were reluctant to ask for help in this way, it was apparent the economic pain was going to last for quite a while and that we needed to be prepared for a long haul. Several readers made us feel better about the ask, noting we had been serving the community with a free bimonthly magazine for more than 14 years.
We are so grateful to all who have contributed. The response has been phenomenal. People have donated online, many have mailed us checks, and some have come by the office, cash in hand. In all, more than 300 readers have contributed. Thank you.
We are also grateful to all the advertisers who have stuck by us through thick and thin over the years. We could never have published one issue without you, nevermind 89.
Stay safe everyone. The vaccines are here, but the crisis is not over.