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David Squires

Sore Losers No More

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Awards are funny. Over the years, we’ve probably entered INSTORE into the Neal Awards (think “the Pulitzers of business publishing”) six times. For the first four years, I don’t think we registered on the judges’ radars. We didn’t win — in fact, we never even made the finals.

Every year when the bad news arrived, group managing editor Ralf Kircher and I would become the sorest of sore losers. We’d snipe bitterly at the judges: “They don’t get us. They don’t know what they’re talking about.” We’d label them as enemies of progress: “Their heads are in the past.” We’d become gloomy: “This is a waste of money. We should just stop entering.” And then ornery: “This competition is rigged.”

Well, this year I can assuredly say that this competition is not rigged. And entering is not a waste of money. And that the Neal Awards panel is thoroughly forward-thinking — nay, more than that, they are world’s most discerning judges of fine business publications.

Okay, okay, yep, as by now you have guessed, INSTORE has finally won its first-ever Neal Award. Last Friday at a ceremony in New York, we were honored with the award for best single issue of a publication in Category B (for magazines with $3-$7 million in revenue).

INSTORE and INDESIGN have won a bunch of honors over the years, but this is the biggest. My instinct is to start doing body-builder poses while screaming “Argggh! Yeahhh! In your FACE, every other business publication!”

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But no … better that you indulge me with this little victory speech:

Best single issue is a team award, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team. It’s a team in the best sense of the word — a group of unique talents working together and trusting in each other’s abilities.

I’m also really proud of the issue that helped us win the award. While it takes a ton of work, after four years of publication, our October “Big Survey” edition has become a key reference for the entire jewelry industry. It’s authoritative, useful, insightful and, best of all, oodles of fun. What it is, in essence, is you. I don’t think there’s anything else like it in all of business publishing.

Anyway, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thanks to our team, our readers, as well as thank you to the Academy … sorry, I mean the Neal Awards Panel.

These are good times.

P.S. Is it a good idea to enter your store in local contests — e.g. “The Best of Spokane, WA/Chillicothe, OH/El Segundo, CA”. Absolutely, yes. Enter as many as you can. Why? 1.) Because it gives your store an improvement target to shoot for, and 2.) Because it feels so-o-o damn good to win.

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