Businesses, in turn, realized the paper offered a way to reach a sizable audience to market their service or product, and a sort of partnership ensued.
“I thought it was important to partner with the advertisers, because if they did well, we did well,” said Alessio, who split with her founding partner, Marilyn Coon, after two years and took sole control of the paper.
From the outset, the emphasis was — and has remained — on community news. Carriage Towne never employed a traditional reporter, per se, and for the most part, it steered away from editorializing, except during election season when it became a vehicle for candidates to promote their campaigns and for referendums to be debated. It has relied on the community to provide the news.
“The focus of the editorial has been to highlight the accomplishments of local people, their churches, their children, their neighbors, their fraternal organizations,” she said. “If we wanted people to read the ads, we had to offer them what they would be interested in. It’s always been about what people were gravitated toward and what the public was talking about.”
Alessio is convinced the direct-mail delivery system — a fairly new concept at the time — was a large part of Carriage Towne News’ success. Every week, the paper landed for free in mailboxes all across southern New Hampshire and it grew to become the largest circulated weekly in the state, with a reach of 42,000 at its height.
But those who have worked with Alessio say the Carriage Towne’s success rests squarely with the woman at its helm. She has amassed a cadre of loyal advertisers, like Newton Greenhouse, which has bought into every issue over the 31 years, and a dedicated staff of employees, the majority of whom have been with her for almost two to more than three decades.