One Sunday afternoon in November of 2001, Ken Swarey and I, Phillip Koehn, were visiting with Marlin Wedel in our home after a hearty meal. Mr. Marlin, who owned Ole Dutch Bakery in Lake Providence, mentioned that he would like to sell his business to another Mennonite, but that he did not know how to get the word around. Both Ken and I sat there and looked at each other; we both said that we should start an advertising paper for “plain people.” In the course of our visitation, Ken and I agreed that very soon we should meet and talk about this some more.
Within a week, we both were sitting at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Vicksburg, Mississippi. We decided to meet once a week to start the layout of the publication. We started out by doodling around with a name and a logo, along with a graphic. We took our ideas to the local newspaper office in Lake Providence and Jimmy Neighbors, editor of the Banner Democrat, turned them into reality.
Six months later, on July 2002, we sent out a sample issue containing one advertisement. Much to our surprise, ads came in steadily. The next issue, which was the August issue, had sixteen ads in it, much to our surprise again. This was the beginning of the Business Bulletin.
October 2004 marked the addition of a new member to our group, Bryan Wenger of Hiawatha, Kansas. Ken stayed on as an advisor and Bryan took on the role of editor and publisher. Jimmy Neighbors was our printer. Bryan made many wonderful improvements to the publication, some of which we still use today.
June 2005 was the beginning of a new phase, not only to the Business Bulletin, but to the lives of Phillip and Nancy Koehn and family. We made the move from Louisiana to Pennsylvania. It took about four months for the print job to be transitioned from the Banner Democrat to The Windsor Press of Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Bryan Wenger continued as editor-publisher until February of 2007.
A curious mistake that we made in the beginning was not realized until a year later. In an effort to gain more subscribers, we made an offer of a one-year subscription for $12. The second subscription cost $6 and the third one was FREE! The second and third ones had to be gift subscriptions from the first one. Wow! The subscriptions poured in and we felt very successful. Approximately six months later, we discontinued the three-subscription offer.