From The Publisher: Almost Famous

Recently, a reader shared one of our articles on social media and commented on our proclivity for featuring “great homegrown stories.” Oh, if she only knew how much we appreciate that description.

In fact, the phrase “100% homegrown” is regularly a part of our marketing. That’s because everything about Out & About is locally sourced — from the stories we tell to the writers, photographers and designers who tell them.

It’s a decades-old recipe readers have found appetizing to this point. And as Out & About embarks on a new year with you for the 34th time, we hope you haven’t grown tired of the menu.

There are many more “great homegrown stories” to tell.

Those stories won’t always be about the hometown product who made the big time, like our recent profiles of Jamila Mustafa, Keith Powell, Donte DiVincenzo or Sudi Green. Or the local venture that is now a national sensation like Dogfish Head beer. 

Such stories are always worth telling; however, they are often the stories most told. What about the local musician who didn’t earn a Grammy, but has been packing local venues for years? Or the area sub shop that didn’t spin into a franchise, but is the first stop for your out-of-town guests when they come to visit? Or the standout athlete who didn’t turn pro, but turned to youth coaching and now has mentored hundreds? 

The line between stardom and very good is razor thin and luck is always part of the equation. Any highly successful person — if they answer honestly — will confess as much. Timing is talent’s greatest ally.

Back in my sportswriting days, I once covered a swimmer who missed making the Olympic team by one one-hundredth of a second. The lane he was swimming in could have explained such a blink-of-the-eye difference — yet it was the determining factor in his staying home rather than competing for an Olympic medal. 

Is his a story worth telling? You bet your Out & About.

Just this year, we had the privilege of telling a host of stories that give our community its distinctive personality. Stories such as our profiles of veteran restaurateur Joe Van Horn, wine merchant Linda Collier, community activist Dave Tiberi, creative catalysts Asiata Beeks and Sara Crawford, music instructor Darnell Miller, meat market extraordinaire Bachetti Brothers, vinyl treasure Squeezebox Records, fried chicken hot spot Walt’s Flavor Crisp…

Then there were our spotlights on local treasures such as Reed’s Refuge, Delaware Art Museum, Arden Gild Hall, Historic New Castle, Yorklyn and The Playhouse on Rodney Square. 

Individually, these people, places and things are each a great source of community pride. Collectively, they tell a compelling story — one unique to us. 

If you do the math    approximately 10 stories per month x 12 months x 34 years — Out & About has told more than 4,080 homegrown stories during our three-decades-plus run. And that is not including blurbs and briefs; I’m only counting full-length features. 

Each one is a reason to be proud of the place we call home. If you, too, find these homegrown stories “great,” that’s even better.

  Jerry duPhily

So, what do you think? Please comment below.