Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Feist to deliver Lawrence directory

Publication to include Olathe area, focus on maps, lists

September 24, 2003


Area residents may need to clear out some drawer space to make room for a new telephone directory that will be distributed in early November.

Officials with Wichita-based Feist Publications are launching a telephone directory covering the Lawrence and Olathe areas. It will bring to three the number of directories available in Lawrence.

Roger Carvalho, vice president of marketing for Feist, said the company expected to deliver copies of the directory to 175,000 homes and businesses in Lawrence, Olathe and 48 other area towns.

The book will be the company's 11th directory in the state. Feist already publishes phone books for the Topeka and Kansas City areas.

"We had this area in between those two cities that we weren't in, and we knew Lawrence would be growing," Carvalho said. "We felt like if we were going to be a player in the market, we needed to get in and grow with it."

The new telephone book will join two others already doing business in the Lawrence area. Yellow Book USA, formerly known as McLeodUSA, and SBC's Yellow Pages already publish telephone directories for the Lawrence area. McLeodUSA entered the Lawrence market in 2000. It bought Lawrence-based Woodward Publications, which had printed a directory to compete with SBC for 16 years.

Carvalho said he wasn't sure the city was big enough for three telephone directories, but was confident Feist's book would be well received.

"What probably will happen is one book will do better than the other two, another will do all right, and one will not do very well at all," Carvalho said. "Two books can usually survive in a market over time, but three is sometimes tough."

Officials with SBC and Yellow Book USA did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Business owners said they had mixed feelings about a third telephone directory entering the market.

The new Feist Publications telephone directory, which will be distributed in early November, will cover the following six counties:Douglas: Lawrence, Baldwin, Big Springs, Clinton, Eudora, Lecompton, Lone Star, Pleasant Grove, Stull, Vinland and Worden.Franklin: Centropolis, Homewood, Imes, Lane, Le Loup, Ottawa, Peoria, Pomona, Princeton, Rantoul, Richmond, Richter, Wellsville and Williamsburg.Jefferson: McLouth, Oskaloosa, Perry and Williamstown.Johnson: Bonita, Clare, Clearview City, De Soto, Edgerton, Gardner, Ocheltree, Olathe and Spring Hill.Leavenworth: Linwood, Reno and Tonganoxie.Miami: Bucyrus, Chiles, Hillsdale, Louisburg, Osawatomie, Paola, Somerset, Stanton and Wagstaff.

"I don't think we need three of them," said Jeff Morris, manager of Lawrence's Pizza Shuttle. "I know at my house, if I see three or four of them laying around, I'm going to throw a couple of them out."

But he said the competition could have benefits for advertisers in the books.

"I would hope that the competition would bring prices down," Morris said. "Feist has come in and offered some good deals. I'm hoping that will be the case with the other two."

Feist wouldn't comment on their ad rates, but said they were competitive.

For businesses that rely on receiving telephone calls for orders or appointments, telephone directory advertising is a major expense. If a third directory does take hold in the city, it could mean increased expenses for everybody from pizza delivery shops to physicians.

"I feel like we have to be in all of them, and it already is our single biggest advertising expense by far," Morris said.

The Feist book will be the first directory to include both Lawrence and Olathe. The Yellow Book USA generally covers Douglas County and parts of Franklin, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties. The SBC Yellow Pages generally covers Douglas County.

"Part of our strategy is to look for directories that go beyond just one particular community or small area," Carvalho said. "There are people in Olathe who go to a KU football game and want to know where to go to eat afterwards, and this will let them look it up pretty easily."

Carvalho said the directory would have an emphasis on maps of the area and on lists of community activities and festivals.

It also will list e-mail addresses for businesses that wish to publish them.

Feist is working with Sunflower Broadband to make the directory the official phone book for Sunflower Broadband's telephone customers, said Patrick Knorr, Sunflower Broadband's general manager.

Knorr said the not-yet-finalized arrangement would allow Sunflower Broadband to distribute the book to its telephone customers and for Sunflower Broadband to receive promotion in the directory.

Sunflower Broadband is owned by The World Company, which also owns the Journal-World.

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