Herald JournalEnterprise Dispatch, July 5, 2005

Herald Journal buys Enterprise Dispatch

By Dori Moudry

Herald Journal Publishing purchased the Dassel Cokato Enterprise Dispatch June 29.

Owned by Chris Schultz, advertising manager, and Dale Kovar, general manager, Herald Journal Publishing bought the Enterprise Dispatch and its offices in Cokato and Dassel from Bob Bradford. Bradford had owned the newspaper for the past five years after purchasing it from Dan and Carolyn Holje.

“We saw this as a real growth opportunity because we already have a customer base in the Cokato-Dassel area,” Kovar said. “It’s close by and it’s a good fit.”

In addition to publishing the Herald Journal newspaper each week on Mondays, Herald Journal Publishing specializes in marketing packages, which include newspaper advertising, printing services, direct mailing, signage and novelty products, and web site design and hosting.

Herald Journal operates the web site for the Minnesota Baseball Association as well as one for the Wright County Athletic Conference, of which Dassel-Cokato is a member.

Herald Journal Publishing has 19 full-time employees, and will be retaining the employees at the Enterprise Dispatch, which has eight full-time employees, Kovar said.

Tom Hauer, former publisher with Bob Bradford, will remain with the DC paper until Aug. 5 to help with the transition. Aaron Schultz will become the Enterprise Dispatch’s manager with Herald Journal Publishing. Aaron Schultz formerly was the sports editor at the Enterprise Dispatch, and currently holds the same position at the Herald Journal. He also was in advertising sales with the Enterprise Dispatch and is currently active in amateur baseball.

There are no plans to merge the two newspapers, Kovar said. “We’ll be keeping the (Dassel Cokato) newspaper very independent,” he said. “We will be sharing some elements, but it still will be the same newspaper. One thing we’ll be adding very soon is a combined classified section.”

Herald Journal Publishing offers free classified advertising, for personal use only, to all of its subscribers. Excluded in this offer are real estate, organizational and business classifieds. Also, obituaries will be free and donation photos, including check-passing pictures, are accepted.

The company may merge the Herald Journal Shopper with the Enterprise Dispatch Connection Shopper. “We’ll be able to offer advertising customers greater circulation for a lower price,” Kovar said.

More about the new owners

Dale Kovar has a sister and brother-in-law, Larry and JoAnn Vande Steeg, who live in Cokato. His brother-in-law, Mark Blazinski, works in the service department at Holt Motors and another brother-in-law, Gary Kosek, was a long-term substitute teacher at DC public schools this past school year.

Kovar, 47, and his wife, Linda, live near Winsted and both hail from Silver Lake. Linda had worked at the Dassel Lakeside Home for several years in the early 1990s, he said. They have four children: Chelsea, 18, who is a student at the College of St. Catherine, Alyssa, 16, who is working part-time for Herald Journal Publishing, Kip, 12, and Rhett, 7.

Kovar has worked for newspapers for 28 years, starting in Redwood Falls. He first came to Winsted in 1978, went to Two Harbors for a couple of years, and returned to Winsted in 1983, working as a reporter and editor during that time.

“I enjoyed reading about the ‘invisible parade’ every year when Barney Barnaal had the Cokato Enterprise,” he said.

When the Enterprise Dispatch was owned by Dan and Carolyn Holje, Kovar worked closely with them and with Paul and Marie Scivetti in bringing Internet service to the area in 1997.

“We weren’t formally associated, but since Howard Lake was a free phone call to get Internet service, we helped them sign up Howard Lake customers, and they helped us to have a Web presence for our paper, which has become a key part of our operation,” Kovar said.

Chris Schultz has been serving advertising and printing customers in the Dassel Cokato area for the past 12 years, and is “a huge amateur baseball fan.”

Although he quit playing amateur baseball a year ago, Schultz, 39, was a veteran pitcher for the Winsted Wildcats.

He and his wife, Amy Hoese-Schultz, live in Lester Prairie. They have three children: Abbi, 7, Emily, 5 and Ethan, 10 months. Schultz grew up in Lester Prairie, while his wife is from the Watertown-Mayer area.

Schultz has a degree in political science from St. Cloud State University and started with Winsted Publishing in 1992, moving up to advertising manager in 1993.

He also writes a weekly outdoors column that soon will be added to the Enterprise Dispatch. Schultz said he has been writing about the outdoors for the past 20 years, including for a number of magazines. He said the column often includes fishing reports and covers regional outdoor news from Lake Mille Lacs to Lake Minnetonka to the lakes in the Dassel area.

Several Herald Journal employees also live in the Dassel Cokato area, including:

• Lynda Jensen, Herald Journal editor, Dassel.

• Jami Berg, printing department manager, Cokato.

• Wendy Lankki, production department manager, Cokato.

• Gladys Jones, maintenance, Cokato.

• Brandon Vandesteeg, production department, lives in Hutchinson but is

a graduate of Dassel Cokato High School.

“We also have a Bruce Johnson in our sales department, but he is no relation to Cokato Mayor Bruce Johnson,” Kovar said.

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