There’s been no official announcement, but the Methow Valley’s efficient rumor mill being what it is, now’s as good a time as any to confirm that the Methow Valley News will be moving early next year.
But not far. We will relocate to a building on the TwispWorks campus that, most recently, was home to the Methow Valley Teen Center.
I have mixed feelings about moving. The newspaper has been in the former Evergreen Market building at the corner of Glover Street and Second Avenue for a long time (before that, the News was housed in the building that is now the Tappi restaurant). Our current site is more than a century old, constructed of bricks made here in the Methow Valley, and shows up in a lot of historic photographs. People still come in and tell us where the fresh vegetables and dairy cases used to be decades ago.
It’s a wonderfully atmospheric place for a newspaper that is itself more than 100 years old — two centenarians aging gracefully into the 21st century. The Tate family, which owns the building, has been a good landlord (and also an upstairs neighbor — Jenn Tate’s company, Earth & Sky Studios, is on the second floor).
I think the building has terrific potential as a retail space — its location, square footage and ambiance would make it a great spot for any number of businesses. Not to sound like a real estate agent (or horn in on their business), but I think the space has a lot to recommend it.
There is no one reason behind our decision to move — it’s based on a combination of factors that all had to be weighed. Long-term practicality tipped the scales. We don’t need as much space any more, and one of my main goals is to put the newspaper in a good situation for its future operations. The best overall rationale I can offer is simply that it’s time for us to move.
We’ll miss being in the heart of downtown, with easy walking access to the post office, bank, restaurants and other conveniences. At the same time, TwispWorks is a good location for us with its eclectic list of campus “partners,” plus amenities and facilities we can take advantage of. We’ll just have to walk a little farther.
We’ll also miss the walk-in traffic from customers and passers-by, but we hope that people will still manage to find us. We promise to be just as helpful and friendly at the new location.
One of the requirements of being a TwispWorks partner is a public service element, and we have several programs in the planning stages that we will tell you more about later. TwispWorks will make its own announcement soon.
The hard part of all this is before us — the logistics of moving. It feels a little overwhelming. It can also be cathartic. We’re developing a plan that includes a major purgative element — we are going to recycle, toss, sell or give away anything that we won’t be needing. I’ve told the staff that sentiment won’t get in the way of our decision-making about that, with a few exceptions — our collection of antique typewriters is coming with us, as is the two-sided wooden Methow Valley News sign that now sits in our front window. The Shafer Museum may get some donations.
Sometime down the road, when the new place is presentable, we’ll have an open house for the community. We’ll let you know the details, and hope you’ll be able to drop by. It will be nice to get settled in and back to business. We’re always more comfortable covering the news than being in the news.