New weekly newspaper, Sneak Peak Vail, debuts Thursday

Here’s a sentence you don’t see much these days:  A new newspaper will hit the streets Thursday.

Erin Chavez, former Associate Publisher Vail Mountaineer, which closed in June along with the Denver Daily News, will launch a weekly called “Sneak Peak Vail.”

Chavez told me she saw a hole in the advertising market after the Mountaineer closed, and she developed a business model to meet the demand and make a new newspaper sustainable.

“We’re partnering with core businesses that had supported the Vail Mountaineer,” she says. “We offered them a preferred advertising rate that provides a base for us and stable and inexpensive advertising source for them for years to come.”

After the Mountaineer shut down, Chavez said that local businesses told her that if they had an affordable and guaranteed advertising rate, they’d sign a longer term contract.

She’s got 27 contracts as of Monday, which, she says, is enough cover the main cost of printing the newspaper. She figures she can offer the reduced rate to a limited number of advertisers before her business will lose money.

The advertisers will have no input on the paper’s editorial content, which will be “more lifestyle-oriented, not based on news in the Vail valley, but more of what is going on and applying it to second home owners and locals,” she said.

Chavez has hired seven staffers and seems excited to give the business model a shot. “I’ve been lucky to have the resources up here to try this,” she said.

She said of the Mountaineer, “The model wasn’t unsuccessful. On paper it makes sense. But when the economy is hurting, and people aren’t paying, cash flow is a big problem.”

She’s hoping her new model, with ongoing support from advertisers, will fix that problem.

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