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Spirit Publishing Company wins Chamber's 2011 Business of the Year Award

November 3, 2011

The Spirit Publishing Company was named the 2011 Business of the Year during the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual luncheon Thursday at the Punxsy Country Club. (From left) Jeff Curtis, president of the Chamber Board of Directors; Mary Jude Troupe, Spirit publisher; Tom Chapin, Spirit editor; Marlene Lellock, Chamber director; and Brian Turk, director of government and external affairs for Alpha Natural Resources, which sponsored the luncheon. (Photo courtesy of Laura Lynn Yohe)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Yes, The Punxsutawney Spirit is a small-town American newspaper, and yes, unlike some other newspapers in small-town America, it prints its product for readers and business clients daily.

And in today’s edition — oddly enough — The Spirit’s main story is itself, as Thursday, it was named the recipient of the Punxsutawney Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business of the Year Award.

Publisher Mary Jude Troupe, representing the Spirit Publishing Company — which also prints Jefferson County Neighbors — accepted the award on behalf of its 34 individual employees and 11 contractors.

“We are still here because of everyone in this room,” she said during the Chamber’s annual luncheon Thursday at the Punxsutawney Country Club. “If it weren’t for the businesses represented here, we would not be here.”

The award was presented by Tim and Cindy Chambers, whose business, CRW Home Centers, was the recipient of the 2010 Business of the Year Award.
Cindy Chambers said The Spirit has been a part of Punxsy area residents’ daily lives for 138 years, and has consistently provided jobs for area residents.

“Punxsutawney, unlike many communities in western Pennsylvania, is fortunate in that this company provides its product to us six days a week — seven if you count its online version,” she said.

“It takes all 34 employees to give 100 percent each day to produce a brand-new product each day for our readers to enjoy,” Troupe said. “When we do a good job, everyone sees it. When we have an error, everyone sees that, too, so we try to be perfect as much as possible.”

Over the years, employees from the Spirit Publishing Company have served on many committees and boards, such as the “Phantastic Phils!” committee and the Chamber, and they have also routinely promoted and donated to special causes for local clubs and organizations, Chambers said.

Also, every fall, the company hosts its own day-long celebration in appreciation of its community, appropriately called “Appreciation Day.”
“I am very proud of and appreciative of my department heads, the entire staff and all those who support our efforts,” Troupe said.

Chambers also noted that The Spirit has made many economic contributions to Punxsy, as well as a very large investment of its own: Solidifying its future in Punxsy with the installation of three large, additional units to its printing press, and reopening its job shop.

“We are very fortunate to be growing and employing the staff we do in times like these,” Troupe said.

Company President Melanie Walsh praised the commitment that Troupe “has always had for both the community and the business. She and her team have always been leaders in the community, making sure that the business has maintained its relevance in both difficult and prosperous times.

“We congratulate Mary Jude and the entire staff at The Spirit,” she said.
“Thanks to our readers and the businesses for our success today and tomorrow,” Troupe said.

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