About Our Magazine
The Prairie Times is a one of a kind, family-operated, locally owned magazine that has been servicing the needs of Elbert County and Eastern Colorado for the last thirty years. Its mission is to improve the lives of its readers, writers, and advertisers through encouraging hope and country values.
The Prairie Times began as an idea in the mind of its publisher, Jerry Bishop, and launched its first issue in time for Christmas of 1991. He had been working for newspapers and wondered, what would happen if someone created a publication full of positive and uplifting stories that represent small town America instead of news reports? Jerry tried to interest larger publishers in the idea, but all of them turned him down and said such a magazine would not last. Thirty years later, we are proving them wrong (and most are out of business!).
To learn more about us, you can read his twentieth anniversary article in his own words below...
Little did we know what we were in for when my wife Susan and I decided to start the Prairie Times twenty years ago. For something to be successful it would have to be profitable which meant we would have to have ad revenue. In order to have ad revenue, I would need to do advertising sales and Susan would be the Editor and put the publication together so there would be somewhere to place the ads. We also would have to determine what the best possible “market” for our circulation would be so our advertisers would get the best possible results. We decided a “features” publication would be the best way to go since weekly newspapers have a shelf life of about 30 minutes—just long enough to scan the headlines, read a few articles and the toss it or use it to line the bird cage. A features publication would be something people would keep around for awhile, which would give the advertisers much better exposure and more bang for their buck.
We got off to a pretty good start with the advertising sales but the editorial content was more of a challenge. Susan and I are both writers not because of formal education but by having natural ability but we certainly couldn’t write everything ourselves. Not to worry, shortly after the Prairie Times began to be “out there” stories and inquiries began pouring in from talented people “who had a story to tell.” We quickly developed a writer’s guidelines and held a few very well attended writers’ seminars. Since we pay writers something for their efforts the word spread quickly and soon we had more material than we could use. Some of our writers have also become great friends over the years.
When we started the Prairie Times, the publishing industry was in the process of changing from the way it had been done for years (labor intensive and tedious) to the way it is now (fast, high tech electronic but sometimes nerve wracking). Susan and I had quite a learning curve since neither of us was very computer savvy. One of the keys to being an entrepreneur is that you must either learn to swim or drown so we learned to swim. Over the years we have made lots of “upgrades,” learned lots of new software and operating systems and have become pretty good IT techs. We have also learned that “upgrades” aren’t always better and there is a lot of truth to that old axiom “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Our goal and purpose is still to give businesses a place to advertise that will be effective for them by providing a publication that people enjoy, only now the stakes are higher. Regardless of what most of the media is saying, things aren’t getting better; in fact the economy is getting worse. I know this because I deal with small businesses constantly and they are having a hard time making it. Let our advertisers know you appreciate them being in the Prairie Times and give them your business. We do! Most of our shopping is done in our market area where we find the owners very helpful and knowledgeable about their product or service.
How to Reach Us
Call us Monday through Friday at 303-621-2325
Send subscription renewals/payments, manuscripts, etc to
Box 880 Byers, CO 8013