The very first issue of The Kawartha Promoter was published on March 15, 1991. Originally called ‘The Bobcaygeon Promoter’, as the paper’s name implies, it was intended as a vehicle for promoting local events and businesses in Bobcaygeon. Rose Anne Kulmala, the driving force behind the paper and its sole owner and editor for well over a decade, was known for her tenacity and her passion for her community; qualities which were reflected in the pages of The Kawartha Promoter. “The truth is not always popular, but I believe it is responsible for our growth,” was Rose’s motto.
Rose Anne had always sworn that she would not sell The Kawartha Promoter to anyone who was not sufficiently passionate about the little paper she had built over the years, so it was with careful deliberation that she decided, in 2003, to allow Max Miller to buy The Kawartha Promoter. Rose Anne remained at its helm as Editor to ensure that The Kawartha Promoter continued her legacy. Max had been a part of The Kawartha Promoter family on and off for years as a freelance designer and stepped into her role as Publisher easily.
A graduate of the prestigious Ontario College of Art, Max Miller brought her design skills and experience to The Kawartha Promoter. Her career in design included McLaren Advertising, and a coveted position with Art and Design Studios (ADS), (one of the top design studios in Canada in its time). She has was worked on accounts such as: Molson, GM, Esso and Shopper’s Drug Mart, to name a few. Max has been recognized for her service to her community. She received the prestigious Bobcaygeon Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year Award in 2009 for her continuing devotion local businesses, service groups and community events throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes and surrounding areas. Max serves on the Bobcaygeon Chamber of Commerce, Kawartha Lakes health Care Initiative, and has also done committee work for Community Care.
Unfortunately, Rose Anne lost a hard-fought battle to cancer in 2007.
The Kawartha Promoter’s driving force: Rose Anne Kulmala written by her daughter, Anne Kulmala
Originally it was the Bobcaygeon Promoter and was started as a “good news” paper. It was meant to do stories on local businesses and organizations in order to promote local activities.
When we first began, the paper was printed on white bond paper instead of newsprint to give it a quality most papers didn’t have. For quite some time after the paper began, the flats were driven to Bowmanville for printing by one of the staff (usually my Mom, Rose), of course almost everything was done by old fashion paste up. Once printed the paper returned to the Design One/Promoter office and was hand stapled by my Mom and the rest of us. We had special staplers mounted on plywood set up to staple down the seam of the paper. It was then hand counted and delivered to the various places that carried it including the post offices.
There were originally three people who started the paper but Mom eventually bought out the other two and continued to expand, she was the driving force and remained so until it was sold.
Rose, started the paper from a small office supply business she began in the DJs Plaza. She found a service that the town lacked and promptly filled the gap. From there she could see that there were other things she could do to promote her community. Design One office supplies and services were the larger portion of the business for a few years. Eventually, the paper took over the lead and the office supplies began to phase out. Computers, faxes and computer printers became cheaper and businesses bought their own, making many of the services supplied by Design One obsolete, but it didn’t matter. The Kawartha Promoter was taking off by then and needed to move to a larger building.
The Kawartha Promoter staff was always like a second family. It was always women. If a man was hired they didn’t last long. Couldn’t take all that estrogen? Mom eventually stopped trying to hire men. We all pulled together when one of us was in trouble. It didn’t matter what the problem was, Mom would jump in and save the day or just talk you through it. We could rely on each other when times were tough – and they often were. People who worked for The Kawartha Promoter often stayed a long time, not for the pay, because it wasn’t that good, but for the family and camaraderie. We liked each other.
The other local papers: The Bobcaygeon Independent, the Fenelon Falls Gazette, the North Kawartha Times and the Lindsay papers were bound and determined that we were just a fly in their ointment and tried all manner of techniques to get rid of us. It never worked. My Mom was far too stubborn and steadfast to allow anyone to bully her. She stood her ground through thick and thin. The Kawartha Promoter eventually outstripped the other papers’ circulation and took over the lead as far as newspapers in the area went.
I guess The Kawartha Promoter is really all about Rose Anne Kulmala and the kind of person she was. Quick and intelligent and tough as nails with a sting that could really smart if you were on the wrong end of it, but under it all she had a heart of gold. She helped a lot of people though difficult times. She was really soft and squishy on the inside. She cared about her community and she cared about the underdog. She helped start the Ben and Friends’ Foundation on behalf of a local child with a rare form of Cancer. That foundation went on to help families and children with difficulties. She served on the region’s health council and was recognized for her efforts in the community.
The paper certainly had some meek beginnings but it didn’t take long for it to become an integral part of the community.