Roanoke Rambler pivots to new business model
ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - On the front page of the Roanoke Rambler this week is news that Greyhound will not occupy a building that was constructed to serve as the bus line’s Roanoke terminal.
“The fact this standalone building, called the Greyhound Building, won’t be staffed or leased by Greyhound, I think, is something that people should know about,” said Henri Gendreau, the Roanoke Rambler’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.
And there are other exclusives Gendreau thought people should know about - including coverage from the courthouse, city hall and other corners of the Roanoke Valley.
“What I’ve learned is that people are still hungry for local news,” Gendreau told WDBJ7. “They want to know what’s going on in their community.”
Gendreau launched the Roanoke Rambler as a subscription news site in September 2021.
What the first 18 months have also shown is that turning the startup into a long-term success is still a work in progress.
Recently, Gendreau pivoted to a new business model, adding sponsorships and advertisements to monthly memberships, and opening most of the site’s stories to anyone who signs up for a free weekly newsletter or visits the website.
“We’re excited that by opening up access, more people will be exposed to the Rambler, be able to read what we write and hopefully see the value in that by subscribing,” Gendreau said. “The recent newsletter went out to 2,400 people here in the Roanoke Valley, so I think we’ll just look to continue to grow that.”
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