Skip to main content

Last year’s challenges have made us stronger

Happy New Year.

I’m certainly glad that 2020 is behind us. From a publishing perspective, it was a most unusual and difficult year. I’m proud to say that Woodshop News prevailed.

It takes a village to produce this magazine. Not a huge one, but a dedicated team of writers, sales and production professionals who have shown amazing resiliency.

We’ve all been working from home since last spring. My ‘office’ is my bedroom, giving me a commute of about four steps. It’s taken some getting used to. The office has been my refuge for many years, a place where I can focus on my responsibilities, collaborate with my colleagues, and enjoy the comradery. Working from home never appealed to me, and I still think it’s a bad idea, but we’re stuck with it until the office reopens, hopefully by this summer.

Thanks to our IT department, it was a smooth transition. I now have faith that we can publish from anywhere with an internet connection. This will serve us well in the future. But there have been other challenges.

We’re not allowed to travel, thus unable to physically visit shops throughout the country for our regular cover profiles. I doubt you’ve noticed because Jennifer Hicks has adapted so well, conducting interviews by phone, Zoom and email to capture their stories. And the shop owners have been extraordinarily helpful, providing ample time and tremendous cooperation. Our biggest challenge has been getting pictures to run with the profiles. Pre pandemic, we hired a photographer for the cover shoot. Now we’re relying on the shops to supply the artwork. I can’t thank them enough.

There was no reason to get on a plane for most of 2020 since every major trade show moved online. This was an unexpected challenge in terms of generating story ideas and new product content. You can have an inbox full of press releases, but there’s no substitute for learning about a new tool or machine in person. The virtual shows helped, but we’re pining for the next AWFS or IWF.

Our contributors have been amazing. I’m so fortunate to work with talented, knowledgeable freelancers that submit their copy on time and nearly ready for publication. A big thank you to John English who can take any topic, no matter how half baked, and deliver.

Hopefully, once the vaccines are distributed, we’ll be back in the office and on the road. I’m desperate for a return to normal, but I’m so proud of how we’ve responded. Thank you, dear readers, and here’s to a healthy and prosperous new year. We deserve it.

Free trial

We’re kicking off 2021 with a free trial to Woodworkers’ Showcase, our marketing site that connects custom woodworkers with high-end buyers.

Woodworkers Showcase is promoted to readers of Active Interest Media titles, such as Yachts International, Power & Motoryacht, Old House Journal, Sail, Arts & Crafts Home, and PassageMaker.

The free 90-day trial allows shops to post product images, descriptions and contact information.

To sign up, visit

This article was originally published in the February 2021 issue.

Related Articles