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CONVENTION RECAP: Daily Journal’s Powell named 2022 Queen of Revenue Ideas


Lauren Powell talks about one of her revenue-generating ideas for the Daily Journal in Kankakee during the Revenue Idea Exchange session Thursday, Aug. 11, at the IPA/IPF convention. (Photo by Erin Henekl for Illinois Press Association)


For Illinois Press Association

SPRINGFIELD – The Revenue Idea Exchange has been a favorite session for years at the Illinois Press Association/Foundation annual convention.

This year’s presentation, sponsored by Advantage Newspaper Consultants, had a new twist with the selection of a “king” or “queen” of revenue ideas.

This year’s Queen of Revenue Ideas is Lauren Powell of the Daily Journal of Kankakee. She was crowned during the afternoon session Thursday, Aug. 11, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel.

During the Revenue Idea Exchange, convention-goers submit their best money-making projects from the past year. The four top ideas win $50. The person submitting the most ideas is crowned “king” or “queen.”

Powell submitted three entries, one of which was a $50 winner. Her ideas included included the Daily Journal annual sale, a community job fair and the cash prize winner 100 Days to the Fair.

The Daily Journal annual sale was a one-week intense campaign aimed at targeting new businesses.

“This was kind of born out of the need to get new businesses. …I believe we brought in 150. Our goal was 175 so we were very close to goal,” Powell said.

Advertisements were sold at a discounted price during the campaign with price reductions for larger advertising commitments.

Powell also entered a community-based job fair that was to help fill gaps created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had our very first job fair last year. It was a response to COVID, seeing how many people in our community were either desperate for work or were desperate for employees so we figured why not put something together that put them all in the same room,” Powell said.

The Daily Journal recently hosted its 2022 job fair and received positive feedback from the community members.

“We hosted the job fair last year at our local mall and had 23 vendors that showed up and I would guess about 150 job seekers … came in,” Powell said. “We just had our 2022 fair a couple weeks ago and had a great response to that one too so I think this will be an annual thing for us.”

Powell’s $50 winning idea was a 100 Days to the Fair campaign.

“It was 100-day countdown to the county fair. We did 100 days on social media. There was information on every single ad, …any information that the county fair had that they wanted to go into the hands of attendees, we did on social media. We also ran two strip ads with that information every single week,” Powell said.

The campaign raised about $10,000 for the paper and was billed to the advertiser over a span of four months.

“The amount of response that I saw on Facebook whenever I would see so many people sharing it and so many people talking about how excited they were that the fair was advertising all of this information, that’s better than the 50 bucks honestly,” Powell said.

Local content was a common theme among winners. Jason Hegna with Shaw Local Media also won $50 for a campaign focused on honoring teachers from each of the markets served.

“We wanted to do a project where our whole editorial department and our whole advertising department came together as one group to honor teachers. …The contest was to have people send in thank you letters. …We ended up getting more than 600 entries across all of our markets,” Hegna said.

The editorial team generated about 140 unique stories based on the thank you letters sent in by community members and generated about $190,000 from selling digital and print advertising.

“What was really cool about this was the editorial side of it — that it was hyperlocal content that people really got around,” Hegna said. “It was positive, it was uplifting, and we got a ton of great feedback from it.”

Another $50 winner was the Cass County Star-Gazette for its Cass County Guide.

“The idea itself is a way to get all of the small communities involved,” said Gary Loftus, publisher of the Cass County Star-Gazette in Beardstown. “It is a guide as you would expect a directory of things, churches, businesses, doctors, etcetera. And it’s always been a well-received guide.”

“Small communities means I’m really trying to target community focus kind of things where the community can all get behind a project,” Loftus said.

All entries were offered drink tickets or lottery tickets for participating in the idea exchange and attendees were encouraged to ask questions and discuss ideas for their organizations.


Lauren Powell of the Daily Journal in Kankakee was crowned the Queen of Revenue Ideas for bringing three different projects to the discussion during the Revenue Idea Exchange at the IPA/IPF convention on Aug. 11 in Springfield. (Photo by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)



Dee Evans, vice president of sales and business for Advantage Newspaper Consultants works the room during the Revenue Idea Exchange on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel in Springfield. (Photos by Erin Henkel for Illinois Press Association)



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Press Releases


Contact: Sara Davis
Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County
(815) 759-9002 ext. 102



Habitat ReStores in Woodstock & McHenry
kick off Winter 2022 Donation Drive

McHENRY COUNTY — McHenry County residents can support the store that helps build homes by donating to the Habitat McHenry County ReStores Winter Donation Drive, happening now through Dec. 31!
With free and convenient pickup service, McHenry County residents can easily donate new and gently used household items, appliances, building materials, furniture, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and more!
The Habitat ReStores in Woodstock and McHenry carry gently used donations along with an excellent selection of new and like new furniture, tools, home décor, and more! Habitat ReStores are open to the general public for shopping and donation drop-offs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Every purchase at a Habitat ReStore generates funds to help build, rehabilitate or repair Habitat for Humanity homes in McHenry County. Individuals and families applying to the Home Ownership program must complete a brief application, earn between 30% and 80% of the area median income based on their family size, and perform sweat equity to be considered for a home. 
“Every item donated to our ReStores helps to improve the lives of families in need of safe, affordable housing,” said Sara Davis, operations director for Habitat McHenry County, “This year alone, proceeds from our Habitat ReStores have helped us build and repair homes for more than 15 families in McHenry County.”
The Habitat ReStores rely heavily on the generosity of community donors, and all donations made through the 2022 Winter Donation Drive are tax deductible. For information about how to schedule a donation drop-off or pickup, email donations@habitatmchenry.org or call: 815-331-8153 ext. 302.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores – Woodstock, IL and McHenry, IL
Open to the public, Habitat ReStores are thrift home improvement stores and donation centers that sell building materials, appliances, furniture, and home decor at deep discounts to the communities they serve. In fiscal year 2021 alone, Habitat ReStores nationwide raised more than $76 million to help support Habitat's affordable housing mission while also diverting reusable material from landfills. All proceeds generated between both HFHMC ReStores are used to help build or improve homes in McHenry County. To shop, donate or volunteer, visit us online at www.habitatmchenry.org.



Contact: Brandon Bergersen
Valley Orchard
(815) 332-9696



Valley Orchard celebrates 45 years in the community with 'Fall 45 Fest' on October 8


CHERRY VALLEY – Valley Orchard in Cherry Valley, Illinois, is one of the oldest orchards in the community and has been a destination for cherry picking, apple picking, and apple cider donuts for 45 years in northern Illinois. Every spring, summer, and fall it has been a spot for outdoor entertainment, farm market shopping, and cider slushes. On October 8, the orchard is commemorating all the roles it has played for the community throughout its 45 years in business with a daylong anniversary celebration called “The Fall 45 Fest”. 

The event will be celebrating with the community by offering a variety of fun activities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 8. This will include attractions for guests of all ages including pumpkin carving and scarecrow building contests, children’s activities, an antique tractor show, yard games, multiple food trucks, and one free apple cider donut for every visitor. For the full schedule of events visit the Valley Orchard Facebook event. 

"I love growing apples, I have for 45 years," said Valley Orchard owner and operator Raoul Bergersen.

Bergersen went on to say how grew up with a love for farming.

"I had a friend that one day said, 'Hey, are you interested in doing an apple orchard?' I said, 'Sure, why not' and had absolutely no idea how to do it," Bergersen said when asked how it all started. "In retrospect, that was really foolish knowing what I know now," Bergersen said with a laugh. "But it was really fun."

Bergersen purchased the land in the Village of Cherry Valley in 1977. In the first year, he planted 1,800 apple trees which now have more than 5,000 trees on the 35-acre property.
With an array of apples, including their own handcrafted Johnalicious, berries, pumpkins, corn, and an abundance of rhubarb; visitors can find everything they need.

"You become friends with your customers," Bergersen said, “and we want to celebrate 45 years with them. I'm going to keep this up for as long as I possibly can, and hopefully my sons will continue something that I started 45 years ago."

Join Valley Orchard for 45 years of fun on October 8 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 



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