I am not quite sure if anyone has addressed the sale of this Chicago icon in print. First I was shocked and hurt, and frankly I needed a drink, it hurt like hell. I grew up with the Reader, my businesses grew up with the Reader.

I applauded when they beat off the two titans of publishing with RedEye and Red Streak and then of course Time Out. When I read the Crain’s article a short time ago about the slight drop in readership (like 10 percent or so) I thought it was a great triumph for the Reader. Who knew that Craigslist would bring the likes of the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, and of course the Reader to such hurt.

As a business owner I watched them try to fight back to their old strength, I know many employees were shocked and to them I say, your old bosses lost tens of millions of dollars hanging in there and trying to revamp this publication, they were worth 50 percent more five years ago then they are today, they hung in and fought valiantly for their life and yours. They are and were some of the most ethical and wonderful businesspeople Chicago has ever seen. I fought with them and loved them and will miss them.

Gentlemen and ladies of the old Reader guard, thanks for the memories, you were and are Chicago, go gracefully, and enjoy. To the new owners, I say good luck and cherish the legacy they built and you were lucky enough to buy; it is still a Chicago power. Chicago is a mysterious place, tread carefully, and always watch your back. As an employee once told me, “Trust everyone but always cut the cards.”

Mark L. Thomas


The Alley Stores