August 31, 2006

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Concord Publisher's Note: Cheap eats everywhere
By Dan Szczesny

This week’s Hippo brings you a cover story on cheap eats — specifically, great meals to be had in the local area for less than $10.

Alert readers, and there are a few of you out there, will notice that not all the places we look at are located right here in Concord or even in neighboring towns. Some are as far away as Nashua. What’s up with that?

The reason will come as shocking to many of you, but here it is: people are known to travel beyond the city limits to experience new things in the area, inexpensive or otherwise.

And in publishing our free newspaper week after week, we’ve come to learn that this kind of cross-pollination is one of the best things that Hippo can do for Concord and the other towns in our coverage area, which is a large part of the state’s southern tier.

Most traditional newspapers are tied to specific coverage areas, which are often centered around one city. But Hippo, with our editions in Manchester and Nashua as well as Concord, can range all over, depending on the topic.

This week, in keeping with the food theme, we can bring you the best of the southern New Hampshire smorgasbord.

If there’s something worth checking out that means traveling up or down the highway a few minutes, people will do it, even with gas at $3 a gallon. That’s why our listing of cheap eats includes places in Manchester, Nashua and elsewhere.

As we’ve evolved, part of Hippo’s mission has become getting out the word about Concord to a broader regional audience in a way no other media outlet really does.

As a city, Concord offers plenty that’s worth traveling to. The appeal of places such as the Capitol Center for the Arts and Granite State Candies isn’t limited to Concord residents only.

So Hippo features Concord events in our other editions, and vice versa. If you like movies, you’re probably interested in the unusual programming down at the Wilton Town Hall Theatre. We don’t keep that out of the Concord edition just because it’s not in downtown Concord.

Bottom line: People will travel, and because Hippo’s editions circulate all over southern New Hampshire, we’re introducing the Concord area to a lot of new folks.

How many? Here’s an interesting fact. Hillsborough County, just to the south of Concord, is home to about 300,000 people. It’s by far the most populous area of New Hampshire. And each month the Hippo reaches 40 percent of this market, more than any other newspaper, daily or weekly, and far more than any one radio station.

That’s not a guess on my part. It’s what last year’s independent Media Audit survey told us.

I think this is an especially important point for Concord advertisers. Even if your traditional trade area seems to be the local neighborhood, it can be worth promoting to the huge number of customers who are a short drive away but just don’t know about you.

So with each edition, we’re helping bring the word about Concord’s best to a world of potential visitors—people who until now might not have been tuned in to what’s happening in the Capital City.


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