WEST Virginians know Thanksgiving means turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, pumpkin pie, the Macy's parade and football. Those are traditions.
There is another tradition many West Virginians count on each Thanksgiving: finding the community newspaper "stuffed" with sales fliers and coupons.
The Friday after Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas shopping season, with thousands of shoppers heading to the downtown merchants, to the malls and to their favorite stores to take advantage of the earlier shopping specials. Many approach it with military precision, lining up before daylight to start a day of bargain-hunting based on the information gathered from the dozens of sales fliers they found in their community newspaper. The value residents find in those over-stuffed Thanksgiving newspapers is incredible. Shoppers can easily save hundreds of dollars - the most aggressive can save thousands of dollars - by taking advantage of fliers and coupons.
"We have 43 (sales fliers) in our paper on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week," said Tammy Harris, advertising director for the The Register Herald in Beckley. Along with the fliers, the newspaper provides shoppers with more than $500 in coupon savings.
In Martinsburg, The Journal features 39 inserts on Thanksgiving day and will carry more than 70 fliers, along with special coupons pages, before the weekend is over, according advertising director Judy Gelestor.
Newspapers bring that value to every community. Weekly newspapers such as the Weston Democrat, Pocahontas Times and Glenville Democrat and Pathfinder report a high number of sales fliers and extra value for readers. Susan Bentley, advertising manager for the Weston Democrat, said, "We are also publishing one of two gift guides this week for holiday shopping which adds six pages of advertising and articles dedicated to the holiday season."
Across the state - west to The Herald Dispatch in Huntington, east to The Journal in Martinsburg, north to The Intelligencer/ News-Register in Wheeling, south to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and through the middle of the state in the Dominion Post of Morgantown, Times West Virginian of Fairmont, The Exponent Telegram of Clarksburg, The Inter-Mountain of Elkins and The Gazette and Daily Mail in Charleston - newspaper advertising directors report that residents can expect to find dozens of sales fliers in their community newspapers.
Why such a large section of advertising information? Caroline Little, president and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, said its because advertisers know newspapers reach the right audience.