Booster cel­e­brat­ing 50th an­niver­sary


Vol­ume 1, Is­sue 1 of the South­west Booster rolled off the press for dis­tri­bu­tion on May 8, 1969.

From that mod­est eight page edi­tion 50 years ago, the Booster con­tin­ues to build on that en­tre­pre­neur­ial legacy to re­main the long­est run­ning free dis­tri­bu­tion news­pa­per in the South­west.

The Booster orig­i­nated from the of­fices of Swift Litho Print­ing, which was was launched in 1957. Swift Litho was a small com­mer­cial print shop that was a down­town Swift Cur­rent fix­ture over the years. The print op­er­a­tions were orig­i­nally con­ducted at a 9th Ave. N.W. location be­fore set­tling into of­fice space at 222 Cen­tral Ave. N., and then to 164 1st Ave. N.E. Swift Litho moved into our cur­rent 30 - 4th Ave. N.W. location in 1972. There were sev­eral ad­di­tions to the build­ing over the years, as it grew to 4,000 square feet dur­ing a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion in 1980.

Ron Cor­rins was the founder of Swift Litho Print­ing in 1957, and he and Ken Leitch launched the South­west Booster on May 8, 1969.

“We heard these shopper type news­pa­pers were catch­ing on around the coun­try, and we thought we should try one of those,” Cor­rins said dur­ing a fam­ily cel­e­bra­tion dur­ing his 90th birth­day back in Fe­bru­ary.

“The way we got a foothold was a guy came to town…he had been sell­ing ad­ver­tis­ing for a shopper some­where else. And he says ‘I can prob­a­bly get this go­ing for you’,” Cor­rins re­called.

He said their ad­ver­tis­ing prod­uct caught on quickly be­cause of their lo­cal fo­cus.

“One of our ma­jor ad­ver­tis­ers was Man­ning Mercury. The rea­son we got them was be­cause the ad man from ‘The Sun’ went there one day and showed them the nice car he bought in REGINA. So that was the end of them.”

He said that feed­back on the im­por­tance of shopping lo­cal was a les­son that re­mained with them dur­ing their in­au­gu­ral years.

“I don’t mind them buy­ing a car from some­one else around town, but when you go out of town, that’s the end,” he re­calls be­ing told.

“We got a page ad out of Man­ning Mercury…but at least it got us off the ground,” he said. “That was just enough to get us rolling I guess, and other peo­ple came along with ad­ver­tis­ing.”

His daugh­ter Les­lie Cor­rins, who ran the Shau­navon Stan­dard for a num­ber of years, ad­mit­ted that the en­tire fam­ily knew the im­por­tance of that mes­sage.

“That was some­thing that be­came en­grained in all of us was Shop Lo­cal. Sup­port the busi­nesses where you live. And es­pe­cially for me when I got into busi­ness in Shau­navon, same thing. There’s no way I would have bought a ve­hi­cle any­where but one of the busi­nesses in Shau­navon. Be­cause then I’m go­ing out to them and want­ing them to ad­ver­tise in my paper. So we’ve all still got that men­tal­ity. You sup­port your lo­cal peo­ple and busi­nesses,” she said.

The slo­gan of the Booster for many years was The Mar­ket­place of the South­west, with the paper pro­vid­ing a key ad­ver­tis­ing method to reach con­sumers.

“In those days, clas­si­fieds were a fac­tor as well. There wasn’t any on-line stuff in those days.”

The Booster was orig­i­nally printed on a sheet fed press, one side at a time. As they grew they were then printed in Regina for a short while.

Cor­rins re­called this of­ten led to unique sit­u­a­tions, as they used to send the print neg­a­tives by Greyhound bus the night be­fore, and then drive in to Regina to pick up the printed edi­tion the fol­low­ing day.

“One time the prin­ter phoned from Regina and says ‘we didn’t get the neg­a­tives’. It was the day be­fore an elec­tion, and there was a cer­tain point you couldn’t ad­ver­tise. So what the hell. So we go to the bus de­pot and the neg­a­tives are still sit­ting there. So I grabbed those neg­a­tives and I was in Regina in about two hours and got that paper out on time,” he chuck­led. “Those were the kind of things that hap­pened.”

The Booster even­tu­ally bought a three unit News King press which was in oper­a­tion for over two decades. The press was pur­chased in 1974, and the Booster was one of the first print shops in Saskatchew­an to uti­lize com­put­er­ized type­set­ting.

“A noisy, bloody thing,” Cor­rins re­calls of that old press. “Back in those days you weren’t con­cerned about your hear­ing. That’s why I’m not hear­ing very good be­cause that bloody press bang­ing away and you didn’t wear any ear pro­tec­tion. After I left the busi­ness it be­came manda­tory.”

TOP Ron Cor­rins shared a num­ber of fond mem­o­ries of the early years of The South­west Booster dur­ing his 90th birth­day ear­lier this year. MID­DLE The Booster pur­chased a News King press in 1974 to print the Booster. BOT­TOM The cur­rent 30 - 4th Ave. N.W. home of the Booster un­der­went a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion in 1980.

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