point of view
Historic Preservations, Bankers And 15 Minutes of Fame
John Van Horn
Well, they are after us again, and now it's the nonprofit Advertising Council. Seems it is running a campaign for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The ad depicts a class of grade school kids posing in front of a parking structure, with a small picture of a great-looking school under it. The copy: "No one looks back fondly on the time they spent in a parking garage."
In other words, make sure those mean old parking people don't steal your school and turn it into a parking deck. Check out the ad, reduced nearby so there will be room for my bons mots. The system parking logo has been altered to say "Parking Spaces."
What do you think? Is it a nice friendly message, or a swipe at the industry that feeds our families?
As PT reported last month, for those who thought Walter Stuelpe was out of the parking business after he left Apcoa Standard (now again Standard), think again. His private equity firm, The Gates Group, has just purchased Canada's Imperial Parking. You can see details elsewhere in PT. I guess when Walter told me 15 years ago that he was really in the banking business, he wasn't kidding.
We blasted through Chicago and its environs in January. It really wasn't that cold. I was preparing to do an article on a couple of small communities that had parking issues related to the commuter rail customers that descend on their small towns every weekday morning. Time and deadlines got in the way. The article is out this month. Thanks to the staffs of the villages of Deerfield and Palatine, IL, for their input.
If you ever wondered how I get my leads for articles like that one, and most others in PT, it's not too mysterious. I check with Quickfill. That's the name of our "fulfillment" program. Fulfillment is the term for the activity surrounding sending out Parking Today to our 15,000 or so subscribers. There is more information in QF than just a person's name and address.
We collect demographic data from those of you who are nice enough to fill out the cards that appear periodically on the front of your issues, about the time your free subscription is to run out. This info is permanently recorded in our files. We may know your title, the type of organization of which you are a part, and maybe even the size of your parking operation, if you have one. We may also know where you worked before this job (you forwarded your PT; that's kept there automatically by the software). If you were kind enough to include them, we know your phone and fax numbers and e-mail address.
Those last few bits are what interest me. When I travel to an area, I run a list of people whose phone numbers we have and call 'em up. If they are in, I chat a bit and maybe set an appointment. The half hour or so I spend with them may end up as a story. So next time you get a call from me, don't hang up. Who knows, you may find yourself in the pages of Parking Today.
This month I called Dorothy Harris, head of parking at Denver International Airport. Airports are our theme this month, and I was going to be in Denver. The results are found on page 34. You will also find a short piece about off-airport parking in the Mile High City. I have Karl Kelman's number at US Airport Parking. See how easy it is to get your 15 minutes in the sun? Just fill out the little card and include all the information. PT will do the rest.
The other reason we need the card is to make sure the U.S. Postal Service and our circulation audit company, the BPA (Business Publications Audit), are happy. They require that information so we can prove that we send the magazines out to you all. This keeps our advertisers happy, and ensures that we will be around next year. Think about it: You get 12 issues of Parking Today absolutely free. All we ask is that every three years you fill out a card, sign it (very important) and send it in. Pat then updates Quickfill, and twice a year, the BPA and the USPS smile and we keep our A+ rating.
Article Abstract from March, 2004