Within two years, they were able to purchase the grocery business outright. And by the early 1980s, they began looking to expand the 3,000-square-foot operation. They bought land down the road and built Carriage Towne Plaza. The post office moved in first. Then in 1983, they opened the doors to their new 14,500-square-foot grocery store.
Alessio said a store that size could no longer rely solely on the support of Kingston residents to thrive. They needed to broaden their customer base and began looking into advertising. When they learned a full-page ad in the then local paper, The Kingstonian, would cost them $700 a week, she persuaded her husband to give her the money and let her see what she could do with it.
She figured if she had her own newspaper, she could use it to distribute the grocery store’s fliers. On March 4, 1983, the Carriage Towne News published its first edition. That first year, the tabloid-size paper that operated out of the grocery store averaged about 12 pages and was mailed — for free — to about 8,000 area residents and businesses.
Carriage Towne News quickly became more than a vehicle for advertising the weekly grocery store specials and grew into a valued asset for readers and advertisers alike. People began turning to the paper to learn what was happening in their communities, from the goings-on of their churches, civic clubs and schools to who to call if they needed a plumber, electrician or landscaper.
Larry Kennedy, who has been Carriage Towne’s photographer since the first issue rolled off the presses, said Alessio knew from the start she couldn’t compete with the daily newspapers — nor did she want to. She instead decided to get the community involved, giving them the canvas on which to share their news.