Jay Beeler

Help, we’re being invaded by little fish!

In a recent column by Harry Saltzgaver, executive editor of the Grunion Gazette, it was announced that the paper is downsizing to one of those 2nd floor offices across the street from the Beachcomber. That floor offers mini offices for small businesses with a shared receptionist, break room and conference room – but no panoramic views like we have.

The Grunion has come a long way since the 1990s when I would visit former publisher John Blowitz in his lofty office at 2nd Street and Corona Avenue in Belmont Shore to drop off camera-ready ads for one of our advertising clients. John and his wife, Fran, profited handsomely from the sale (just under $10 million, I was told) and moved up to the lifestyles of the rich and famous in one of the lower-desert gated communities. If (and when) I sell the Beachcomber, it will be for much less than that amount.

The tasty Grunion got eaten up by MediaNews Group, which sells off real property assets, slashes the number of employees, eviscerates community involvement and shares regional news stories with sister publications – at the expense of local news coverage. They also own the hugely disemboweled Press-Telegram.

When our public relations and advertising firm acquired the Beachcomber in July 2000, we too had lofty offices above the Fish Tale Restaurant in Los Altos with fulltime staff for editorial and advertising purposes. The best part was getting a container of hot-and-spicy, red seafood chowder for lunch on a cold, rainy day or sharing an after-work cocktail with owners John and Jerry Bloeser.

Things change.

Beeler & Associates was a pioneer in the use of desktop publishing in the 1990s, which eliminated the need for laying out text and images on art boards. Previously those images were captured by large graphic cameras that output negatives, which were stripped onto forms and exposed to lithographic plates. Desktop publishing was simpler, offered much more control and was far less time consuming.

Beginning with the recession of 2008 and the popularity of the internet for advertising purposes, the writing was on the wall to cut back on expenses by having staffers work from home. We began subletting our office space – much like those second-floor, miniature offices across the street.

Then the pandemic hit. With the popularity of Zoom, even our interns could work from home and there was less need for me to be in the office while they were putting in their 100 or 120 hours required by the universities.

Hallelujah! The advent of being semi-retired arrived in 2020 when I could work from home or anywhere else with a portable computer, internet connection and a VOIP phone system. This also applied to our writers, advertising representatives and production staff.

On those rare occasions where we need to meet with a news source or advertising client, it’s nice to have our top-floor, spacious, corner office with impressive views of the snow-capped mountains, grunion-infested ocean and Recreation Park Golf Course while looking down at the Grunion’s tiny office on the other side of Pacific Coast Highway.

Welcome to my part of the world, Harry. What took you so long? Did I rub it in enough?


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