In the magazine industry it has a lot of different names. Some call it a tagline, catch phrase, the underline or just a cover line. For magazines sold on newsstands, it's a device to help sell more magazines and carve out part of the market. But at CabinetMaker, we don't sell on newsstands, and our tagline means more than that. It's really more of a motto or, better yet, a creed.

"Indispensable tool for the small shop."

I was thinking about that today when I ran across a story about a newspaper in Maine that is determined to prove to readers the value of the paper, especially in hard times. It seems a lot of people cancel daily newspaper subscriptions to save money when funds get tight. So, the Sun Journal in central Maine is running a series of money-saving tips on its front page that the editors say will add up to $1,000 in savings by the time the series concludes. The executive editor is even offering a money-back guarantee to readers: If they can't save at least the cost of their subscription, he'll refund it.

Readers expect more

Well, CabinetMaker readers don't pay for their subscriptions, and a few penny-pinching ideas aren't going to wrestle too many troubled shops out of the current economic morass. What our readers expect from us is more in tune with our tagline. They expect us to be an "indispensable tool." So, how do we do that?

In the past, we've done it by emphasizing a lot of solid business information with what I call "dollars and cents detail" to give shops valuable insight into the best ways to run their businesses. That information has always been targeted at a readership that mostly has no formal training in business, but it is a readership that is as sharp as a well-honed chisel and knows the difference between real case histories and cooked-up fluff.

Still, the times we are in today call for something more. It's not enough just to tell happy stories about successful shops. Those stories can be inspiring and we all need some inspiration, especially now but you need more. It's not enough to suggest you can just buy a big machine and automatically succeed. You know better, and you need more.

A fresh start

Beginning with this issue, we have rededicated ourselves to our creed. You'll find a serious case history about a shop that has downsized to meet the economic challenge. You'll find a long list of practical suggestions to boost your sales. You'll find resources from suppliers who are still dedicated to helping you succeed and want to be part of that "indispensable tool" in your shop by supporting this magazine and advertising here. You'll find resources that go beyond the magazine pages into videos, our Web site and online forum.

And you'll find some inspiration, too. When so many shops are contemplating closing their doors, it's nice to see the legendary Sam Maloof still in the shop at 93.

So, let's get back to work. Pick up your tools.

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