Photo by Huth & Booth Photography.

A major milestone has been reached for the award-winning Osprey Observer Community Newspapers as we print our first edition for our 20th anniversary on Wednesday, January 5. The newspaper has been publishing local, positive community news in the Southeastern Hillsborough County area since January 5, 2001, and we couldn’t have done it without the commitment and dedication of its readers and trusted advertisers.

The Osprey Observer started out as a home-based business with a one-sheet newsletter and has grown into a corporation publishing more than 200 pages in five monthly editions with a team of more than 25 people.

The main goal when we started was to make an impact on the local community. Our idea was to get involved and to make a difference in whatever ways we could.

It has been important for us as a company to stay current, trained and active in the changing economic market and with social media and technology so that we aren’t left behind.

For our business, this has included the addition of videos, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and an active, archived website, along with the continuation of building our brand at events, festivals and with sponsorships in the community.

We recently purchased a larger office space on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico with room for team members to meet and run the day-to-day operations of the publication.

As a community newspaper, we find that this is what sets us apart and keeps our readers interested as we cover the news. We are supported 100 percent by local small businesses who keep us a free community newspaper and allow us to print and mail our editions each month.

Without the support of these businesses, we wouldn’t have the staff to send to cover community events nor the community office to be the hub of local information.

Our staff prides itself on being available for community information.

“My 16-year experience with the Osprey Observer has allowed me to integrate into my community in a very special way,” said Kerrie Hoening, FishHawk/Bloomingdale and Valrico sales. “The connections I’ve made [have] allowed me to build lasting relationships and friendships that I might have otherwise never met. I’ve also found many ways to take part in and support local Brandon-based charities. The heart of this team is to support our residents, our local businesses, our charitable organizations and our community, and I have been very proud to be a part of the Osprey Observer for these past 16 years.”

In addition to concentrating on our main business, publishing newspapers that people read, we also have been active in our local chambers and encourage businesses to not just join but actually get involved and attend events.

Just in the last year, we have been recognized for our community involvement in many ways. Managing Editor/Publisher Marie Gilmore was named the 2019 Citizen of the Year for Riverview and the Osprey Observer was named the Valrico/FishHawk Chamber Business of the Year, Brandon Chamber Business of the Year and Riverview/Apollo Beach Chamber Small Business of the Year Finalist in 2019.

The best advice we can give any small business owner is to find your niche in what you do best, be the best, treat every customer like your absolute best customer and follow the general small business rules that will set you apart: Be On Time, Send a Thank-You Note, Follow Up, Stick to Your Core Business and Do Your Best Every Time.

If it weren’t for our loyal readers and avid business supporters, we couldn’t do what we do in the community. So, from the Osprey Observer team, thank you!

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!