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East County News Service

July 1, 2018 (La Mesa) - Thousands of La Mesans found a surprise in their mailbox last month with the arrival of a new community newspaper, La Mesa Village News.

La Mesa Village News is the latest of 30 hyper-local community direct mail newspapers launched by San Diego publishing house Local Umbrella Media. Local Umbrella, since the acquisition in 2015 of North Park News (which has been in existence since the 1990’s).

Local Umbrella also recently launched a full color magazine in La Mesa earlier this year and plans to open similar newspapers and magazines across San Diego County in the coming months.

“Large newspaper publishers have all but abandoned smaller communities,” notes Local Umbrella’s Group Publisher Brad Weber. “We like to say, ‘The smaller the focus, the more readers care.’ We choose only neighborhoods like La Mesa Village where residents love their community and are proud of it. We celebrate that pride and love by reminding them how lucky they are to live there, how they can and should cherish their neighborhood by supporting the local business community as well as the schools, and non-profit association that do good in the area. Or motto is `Community, Kids and Causes,’ and we try to focus on those things with our content. Although we look like a traditional newspaper, we are really a community newsletter focusing on the positive things. `No Bad News’ is our credo. There are plenty of ways readers can find bad news, but that’s not what we do,” Weber added.

Smaller local businesses have an option with Local Umbrella to reach a single neighborhood – or to chose complete countywide coverage in all 30 editions. “Our advertisers can choose to reach only who they really want to reach, without wasting hard earned dollars on circulation that does them little to no good,” added Weber. “The reason I chose this path is because I owned a small business in San Diego in 2015 and I could find absolutely no affordable alternative to reach my local community without wasting my advertising budget on wasted circulation. I just decided there and then to create my own model to serve other businesses like mine. We mailed our first edition in a radius around my business and customers came in immediately – many who had never been in the store before. These folks mentioned how much they liked getting the paper in the mailbox, instead of the myriad of things that get thrown on their lawns and driveways, and I knew I was on to something,” added Weber,  “No one can beat our targeted advertising value proposition. While already highly successful, Local Umbrella is working with several local technology firms to greatly enhance their social and digital media offerings to local advertisers, and to readers. We have an amazing team of editors, graphic designers, and writers; and we have connected with numerous area non profits and schools to promote the great things they do. The community needs to hear more about these things!”

Weber concludes, “The name `Local Umbrella’ is meant to infer that we can be and all-in-one marketing source for local independently owned businesses to reach their best prospects. I know from experience that small businesses are inundated with calls from companies wanting them to spend advertising dollars on an extremely wide range on mostly unproven products and services. I tried to manage our own social media and advertising strategy but it’s nearly impossible to do because running the nuts and bolts of a business takes so much time and effort. marketing is left often to the best sales rep’s pitch – and that was NOT good for business. We are changing that – and we are thrilled with the feedback we’ve received so far, which is why we aim to be in 40 communities minimum by early 2019. The model is working.”

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