Gabriel M. Shakour at work at his desk circa 1980.
The Keene Shopper
The Keene Shopper began in 1958 in the basement of Gabriel and Barbara Shakour’s home. The Keene Shopper was a small weekly paper dedicated to help grow small, local businesses. “Gabe”, as he was known by many, had a goal to educate the local community about the services and products that local businesses offered.
Sixty five years later this small publication has expanded its circulation and evolved as a valuable advertising tool to many businesses in over 33 towns in the Southwestern region of New Hampshire.
“Advertising with Monadnock Shopper News was the best marketing decision I’ve made so far! The day my ad and feature story was published my phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped since! Thank you Monadnock Shopper News!”
CM Minkler Paving & Painting LLC
1958: Growing A Newspaper In A Basement In Keene
By Cami L. Jack
Midway through 1958, Gabriel and Barbara Shakour started publishing a small paper known as The Keene Shopper in an 8×10 room with three desks. The room also happened to be in the basement of their home. Sixty five years ago, the “Shopper” was a small publication, containing nothing but advertisements placed by small, local businesses in an effort to improve their profits and educate local consumers.
Sixty five years later, you hold in your hands the natural evolution of that tiny advertising publication, a business that has grown up around it, and the hard work and dedication of three generations of employees, family, and local business owners. From that one basement room sprang a weekly community newspaper that’s had its own building since the early 1960s, has increased its circulation from 14,000 in 1958 to 42,000 in 2008, and has gone from three employees then to almost 20 employees now. What was painstakingly pasted together by hand is now created, laid out, and sent to the printer on computers. Today, we publish The Monadnock Shopper News, an evolution in the name brought about by the realization that to serve our readers best, we needed to provide them with news of immediate and local importance, not just the ads for products and services from local business owners.
Just about the only thing that hasn’t changed at this paper is its overriding mission, to support and serve local small businesses. Original publisher Gabriel Shakour was himself a small-business owner (many readers will remember the Keene Drive-In Theater), and knew full well the challenges and rewards inherent in doing business in our “tiny little corner of the world.” Since its inception the Shopper News’ mission has been to be helpful to local business, not adversarial, as a great deal of daily and national media can be. Second-generation Monadnock Shopper News publisher Mitchell Shakour says it best: “We’ve stayed true to helping small businesses in the community.
The success of other businesses is our entire goal, and we will do whatever is legal and ethical in the service of that goal.”
“We don’t run negative ads,” he continues. “We want to keep this a family paper, based on the higher, common values that unite the members of this community: God, motherhood, and country.”
While the growth of the paper you’re reading certainly serves as a testament to publishing a quality product that makes local residents happy by providing good news that is useful and necessary, Shakour also points out that the rise of The Monadnock Shopper News is also reflective of the rise of free community papers nationwide. As a member of several regional and national newspaper associations, he can easily quote statistics to prove the growth and value of the industry as a whole, pointing out that there are now more audited free papers in the US than there are audited paid papers, which flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that predicts doom and gloom for print media everywhere.
So thank you, loyal readers, advertisers, and community organizers for supporting the first 60+ years of The Keene Shopper, The Keene Shopper News, and now The Monadnock Shopper News. Thank you to the talented, local writers who submit their columns each month as a valuable resource to residents who love to read about things like the economy, nature, alternative medicine, family, and whatever happens to be timely and interesting. Thank you to those advertisers who’ve supported this paper over years, to allow us to pay the bills to bring The Monadnock Shopper News to its readers. Thank you to the readers who send us their press releases, poems, letters to the editor, and notes to let us know we’re doing a good job. Thank you to the Monadnock Region as a whole, for being the educated, demanding, supportive area that allows a paper like ours to enjoy over 65 years of being “The Weekly With A Heart.”
Testimonials From Our Advertisers
Almost every day a customer will come in saying “I saw your ad in The Shopper.” We’ve had more success with your paper than with any other ad source.
The SwampBats and the Keene Shopper have a 20+ year relationship. They are a voice for our fans who want to stay in tune to all things “SwampBats.” The Shopper delivers over and over in helping market our games, camps, family host needs, birthday parties, etc. They understand our business and are very much a part of our success.
Kevin Watterson, Keene SwampBats
For over 25 years, The Monadnock Shopper News has helped our business grow. In addition to promoting Good Fortune Jewelry & Pawn, the Shopper is also our favorite publication to read. We always enjoy the wonderful stories in the paper and feel that the Monadnock Shopper is truly our community’s newspaper!
Advertising with The Monadnock Shopper News for the last eight plus years is a big part of our continuous success. Our community understands the importance of supporting local businesses and we can’t think of a better place to invest.
I built my business with The Monadnock Shopper News.
Advertising with Monadnock Shopper News was the best marketing decision I’ve made so far! The day my ad and feature story was published my phone started ringing and hasn’t stopped since! Thank you Monadnock Shopper News!
I have had a great response to the feature article!! I am very, very pleased how it turned out and the feedback I received. All the way around a great article. So, thank you!
We get so much business from the Shopper. When we ask, ‘where did you hear about us?’, people say The Shopper.
The latest Pet Pages on January 8th in The Monadnock Shopper News brought us 20 adoptions that week! Thank you so much to all of the sponsors and to the MSN for helping us get the word out about cats that need new homes! It really does make a difference!
The Shopper does a superb job of publicizing Electric Earth Concerts performances that are presented in Keene, Peterborough, Jaffrey Center, Francestown and Dublin. Their articles and ad designs are top-rate. Highly recommended!
My experience with The Monadnock Shopper has been nothing short of excellent. The team there has gone above and beyond to meet my needs and expand on my ideas. The cover story that Lori wrote was remarkable and truly changed my business. I’m very happy that I decided to use The Shopper for my primary advertising needs.
As soon as we started advertising in the Shopper we started getting phone calls for dumpster rentals. Advertising in The Monadnock Shopper News is why our business has grown as fast as it has. Without advertising in The Monadnock Shopper we would not have the customer base that we do have.
The Shopper is the only paper we advertise in. The front page ad we run…it’s phenomenal what that brings us. It’s hugely effective. Over time, nine out of 10 customers say they’ve seen us in the Shopper. I tell everyone how successful it’s been. As a small business, it’s critical that your advertising to be effective. The feature stories have also driven lots of customers to us. They’ve been well-written and the photos very eye-catching.
The Monadnock Shopper News is much more than a free, weekly, community publication. It is a printed source for important news, events, and opportunities in the Monadnock Region and beyond.
We’ve been advertising in the MSN for ten plus years, with excellent results. Our ads and articles always get good responses from the many communities where the Shopper is distributed. We’ve also been very pleased with how easy it is to work with all the folks at the Shopper. They cheerfully assist us year after year with our tight deadlines, ad design, and our many questions.
Thanks for all that you folks continue to do to make this community such a wonderful place to live and work.
If it wasn’t for the Monadnock Shopper News, my magic business simply wouldn’t have as many booking as it does now. If you want to find a way the business and work that you’re looking for, THIS IS THE WAY TO DO IT!! Everyone at the Shopper is extremely generous and is just so easy to work with! Keep up the great work guys!!
Thank you guys for the great coverage. The art auction is our biggest fundraiser and it means a lot that you help get the word out. Thanks for being such a great resource of community news, which seems to get overlooked sometimes by bigger papers which cover national news.
Just wanted to let you know that SEVERAL people came to our Lifeline Awareness Day on Friday and brought the Monadnock Shopper ad with them! We signed up a bunch of new people, including family members of staff. Tom and I always recommend the Monadnock Shopper News to people for advertising, because we always get good results. And, of course, I enjoy working with you all! Thanks!