Our World Has Changed-From The Publisher

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Focus Daily News
It's so sad that parking lots like this one in front of a Belk store is empty due to the Coronavirus - Covid-19. Thankfully, Belk is accepting online orders and would be happy to ship items to customers, but out of an abundance of caution and concern for employees and customers they have temporarily closed all stores. Many other retailers who you regularly see in the pages of Focus Daily News are doing the same thing. Macy's, J. C. Penney, Conn's, Tuesday Morning, Home Depot and others have opted to close temporarily.

Adapting To A New Way of Life

For many of us, it is only human nature to first think of how Covid-19 is affecting our personal lives. I read and see everywhere how such things as toilet paper, antiseptic wipes and many other items are being snapped up from grocery store aisles as fast as they are stocked. Hopefully, as we progress through this, we are all becoming adjusted to our new way of life and have figured out how to order or when to pick up our most needed items.

As a local newspaper with no corporate headquarters to “bail us out” in times of stress, it has hit us especially hard in that most of our “big box retailers” have pulled their inserts until further notice. It is through revenue generated by their advertising that our editorial and production staffs are paid. So, we fear that our ability to provide citizens news will be affected should the situation continue or worsen.

After the initial shock of seeing cancelation after cancelation, our thoughts turned not only to us and our employees but also to the tens of thousands of people who work for all of these retail stores and restaurants. We know that, just like ourselves, many of these people are working paycheck to paycheck and someone closing, even for a week, can mean no food will be put on the table.

In Dallas County, Judge Clay Jenkins has issued new orders stopping utility cutoffs for non-payment, evictions, and similar adverse actions concerning people who can no longer afford to pay their regular obligations. Judge Jenkins instituted a Stay at Home, Shelter in Place order for Dallas County Sunday evening. It will be effective Monday at midnight. Nationally, steps are being looked at to stop foreclosures and other adverse actions concerning mortgages and taxes, but these actions will have an ongoing affect as well.

What will happen to the employees of the mortgage companies, and the solvency of the companies themselves? It brings to mind how the ripple effect of one action can eventually create a giant wave as it replicates throughout the community, the city, the county, the state, the country and the entire world.

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This photo was taken from the parking lot of the Mansfield Fieldhouse parking lot at about 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. This lot is normally completely full with hardly a space to be found at this time. Photo by McKenzie Barclay

Our initial reaction might be how much toilet paper we have in the house, but ultimately there are so many other things that are far more important.

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There were more cars in the parking lot of the Chili’s in Midlothian prior to its grand opening than there were near dinner time Saturday. Photo by McKenzie Barclay

Empty Parking Lots

Driving around today, we saw parking lot after parking lot empty – lots that are normally teaming with parked vehicles. In terms of recreation, a stop at the Mansfield Field House resulted in not seeing a single car parked there on a Saturday afternoon. Normally, it has been so crowded, it was hard to even find a spot.

Down the street, the lot in front of Belk, one of the stores that normally sees its lot filled with shoppers was vacant. In Midlothian, passing by a Panda Express and a Chili’s, there was not a car in either of the parking lots since carry out is now the mandate for most restaurants. I can’t say for sure if they were even open for drive-through or delivery since I didn’t see any activity at all.

Americans have always adapted to adversity. We did it through two world wars, 911 and a number of other situations, but this one is different than any I have seen in my lifetime. Just like retailers are reacting with online ordering and delivery and restaurants are now mastering the philosophy of “to go orders,” we have tried to adjust to make things easier and cheaper for our readers.

Fortunately, one of the largest money-saving aspects consumers find in Focus Daily News will remain, at least for the next month or so, according to information we have received. The hundreds of dollars of weekly grocery coupons from Smart Source and Retail Me Not are continuing every Sunday. Retailers such as Target have not said they will be stopping sale inserts indefinitely, but did tell us not to deliver them this week because many of the items advertised are in short supply.

We anticipate that they will be back shortly. We have told stores closing totally except for online, like Belk, Conn’s, Tuesday Morning and others that they can switch from inserts to in-paper run of press advertising to get their message concerning online ordering and free delivery out to readers. The entire newspaper is available online daily at www.focusdailynews.com for all regular subscribers as well as online only subscribers.

Special Subscription Rate

We are offering a special online subscription rate of $10 annually (breaking news is always available immediately online at no charge). This is normally $100 per year, but in these trying times, we want to do everything possible to make all the news available to everyone. We are hoping online subscriptions can generate enough revenue to at least continue to pay our reporters to continue to provide all the daily news possible. At the moment, to also help readers save money, anyone who subscribes online will be entitled to come to the office and pick up the Sunday paper with all the grocery coupons and other inserts at least once weekly. Imagine being able to get the entire years newspapers and coupons for less than you would pay for a month elsewhere!

Sunday’s edition of Focus Daily News is already the best way and most cost effective way to get the coupons because the Sunday Focus is still only $1.00 on newsstands (where it will still be available) while other papers charge $3.00 or more for their Sunday papers.

Anyone desiring to subscribe online for a year should go to www.focusdailynews.com. Then scroll down the right hand side to the “subscribe now” button. Click on that. At the top there’s a box for a discount code. The discount code is PICKLE. Enter that and you can pay with any credit card. You will receive sign in instructions to get your newspaper every day we publish for the next year.

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Marlon Hanson
Marlon Hanson has been in the media since 1970, beginning with the New York Daily News. In 1988, he founded Focus Newspapers, expanding the paper from weekly to daily over the past 28 years. He has covered the automotive industry since 1995 and is a three-term president of the Texas Auto Writers Association. Besides Focus Daily News, Hanson is a judge for the Consumers Digest Best Buys, and Auto Judge from TAMA. He also publishes www.testdrivereport.com and focusdailynews.com. His automotive articles appear in Consumers Digest Magazine, Focus Daily News and various other websites and magazines.

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