Last month, I wrote about the personal and business growth I’m currently experiencing. We’ve again expanded Zion Guide, now to 20 pages — equal to the largest version we’ve ever produced. This expansion, spurned by more advertising, allows us to accommodate even more features and content. So for May, we were able to add an additional page of events coverage, our annual event calendar, the visitation and weather graph, an article on Zion’s most popular hike (Angel’s Landing), and a detailed map of Zion National Park. That’s in addition to the 15 features we published in the April edition. This robust set of content represents the most complete guide to the greater Zion National Park area — not only that we have ever produced but that has ever existed for Zion. I’m very proud of what Zion Guide has become. What started as just a couple of pages in The Independent’s print edition has grown in revenue to now exceed the total dollars and ads in the print edition itself. The Independent’s print edition still has more total pages, but they’re physically shorter, and we also limit the percentage of advertising in The Independent to just 40 percent. Zion Guide’s ad percentage slightly exceeds 50 percent, but the tall pages leave room for all the aforementioned content.
Our new sales director, Cory Smith, can largely be thanked for this growth in sales, as can our two new advertising reps: Michelle McKenna, who started with us in March, and Sydney Robb, who just came on in mid-April. I’m really excited at the prospect of having a full sales team for the first time in our company’s history. These three are in addition to Scott Dunford who not only oversees the Mesquite area but is also traveling to Las Vegas to offer up our services to businesses in Sin City. And there’s me — I still cover Zion Canyon to Kanab. Historically, I’ve almost always been responsible for 80 percent or more of the total advertising sales, but starting this month, that percentage is dropping precipitously. This is the most dramatic shift I’ve personally ever seen in our 21-year history, and it sets us up for a wealth of possibilities — not the least of which is more time for me to give to the company vision at the administrative level.
This is also a golden opportunity for me to thank the rest of our fabulous staff: Josh Segovia, who has now been with us about 11 years; Jason Gottfried and Darren Edwards, our two very valuable and detail-oriented editors; and Nikki Slade, who as I mentioned last month has come back to work for us as our office manager after over a decade. In addition, both suindependent.com and our print version of The Independent wouldn’t be what they are without the awesome and consistent contributions of Dallas Hyland, Marianne Mansfield, and our many other regular contributors who are too numerous to list here … but you know who you are, and I thank you.
The personal growth I wrote about last month continues, if not without its missteps and trials along the way. Although I do think I’ve been eating better, more active, and starting this month meditating at the beginning of each day, I certainly can do better, and I’m excited at the prospects of much more growth, which I think is possible in me.
I’m stretching my boundaries of comfort in other areas as well. Not only will I perform at Peekaboo restaurant in Kanab on both May 5 and 19, but those gigs will tune me up for my first tour ever! In early June, I will travel to Wyoming where I’ll start a mini-tour through Idaho and ending in northern Utah with five dates (so far) booked over 10 days. After 25 years of live performing, I will for the first time travel through multiple states and play a series of shows in a short period. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and this year it becomes a reality. My plan is to travel to these places, most of which I’ve never been to, solo and without a complete plan of where I’ll stay at night. I’d imagine I’ll rent a couple of hotel rooms along the way as well as camp many of the nights. Please check out joshwarburton.com if you’d like to see a list of those performance dates, and maybe we’ll see you out there.