Delivering newspaper is a family affair

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 19, 2001

Kendall and Terrie Stevens with their two daughters, Kristen, 9, and Shelley, 10, backseat, sit in the car used for delivering the Vicksburg Post.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[10/13/01]Terrie and Kendall Stevens are two of the people who make sure the 16,000 or so copies of The Vicksburg Post get into the hands of readers seven days a week.

The husband and wife team are the featured carriers for the 2001 National Newspaper Carriers’ Day celebration of The Vicksburg Post.

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“I’ve been a carrier since 1989,” said Kendall Stevens as he prepared to leave the newspaper office Friday on part of his daily odyssey.

His wife, Terrie, has delivered papers since 1991.

“I got into it from his family. I married into it,” Terrie said.

Kendall said he began his association with the paper when he was 9 and rode along with his mother, Rose, on her paper route. His dad, Henry Stevens, was also a newspaper carrier and Kendall and his sister helped.

Now, Terrie and Kendall’s two daughters ride with Terrie during the week and with Kendall on the weekends.

Kendall delivers a bit more than 500 papers daily. He first fills the newspaper vending racks along the frontage roads and on Halls Ferry Road. After than, he takes the long trip of the day, to Eagle Lake and Valley Park. Along that part of his route, there’s only one paper rack, at Yore Country Store, the rest are residential deliveries.

“That’s about six hours a day and about 150 miles from home back home,” Kendall said.

Terrie’s route includes Chapel Hills, Porters Chapel Road, Enchanted Hills, Bellaire Drive and Indiana Avenue. She serves 420 customers in the hour and 40 minutes it takes her to run it.

Kendall said he is familiar with another part of the business of newspaper circulation.

“When I was 14, I worked in the office delivering the complaint papers,” he said.

Complaint papers are papers delivered to customers who may have been missed by their regular carriers and who call The Vicksburg Post circulation office before 6 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

“I’ve always liked delivering papers,” Kendall said. “You’re self-employed and the money is good. The only bad thing about it is it’s seven days a week.”

He said he’s tried other things, but he always seems to come back to his paper routes. Mainly because of a certain amount of freedom the job entails.

“If you are 30 or 45 minutes late, nobody pays much attention,” he said, but added that a completely missed paper is another matter.

“The most complaints I get is when I forget somebody,” Kendall said.

If a customer does get missed, Kendall said he prefers the missed customer to call him directly. It saves time all the way around.

Terrie said her oldest daughter was 5 months old when she got her first 153-paper route and now the youngster is 11. The Stevens’ other daughter also rides with her mother.

“I like it because I don’t have to deal with a whole lot of stuff,” Terrie said. “You’re your own boss and as long as you keep your customers happy, you’re happy.”

The absolute best thing about running a paper route is being able to take the children along.

“My children have never been in day care and I don’t have to worry about who they are with,” she said. “I always tell people its a good job for a mom.”