The Contributor Counts On Wrapping Paper

Posted at 7:51 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 20:51:21-05

Vendors lined up outside the Downtown Presbyterian Church Monday morning to pick up the special holiday edition of The Contributor. This is the second year for the special edition that includes wrapping paper printed on the pages.

"It was just a way for The Contributor, and the vendors, to give back a little bit to the community at a time of year when it's important for them to make a few extra dollars," said Tom Cocke with The Buntin Group.

Cocke was one of the people who came up with the concept for the wrapping paper edition in 2014. The paper was an overwhelming success last year.

The special edition generated $150,000, or 40% of The Contributors donations for the entire year.

The boost in sales came at a time when The Contributor was just starting to recover from difficult financial times that nearly closed the paper.

"The gift wrap edition last year was really a way for them to get over the hump, and to start out 2015 with a good sum of money, a good donation base to get this year started," according to Cocke.

Mary Branson has sold The Contributor for several years. She said her customers really embraced the concept.

"They really liked the issue. They thought it was a good idea, you know, they're not just having something for reading, just throwing it in the trash. Now they're getting to reuse it, so it's like they're recycling," Branson explained.

The long-time vendor, who's customers call her Mary B, said the special edition actually changed her life.

"I was living in a motel at the time, so pretty much living on the streets. So it helped me on my income, I was able to save money and get into an apartment," Branson said. 

The Contributor leaders are hopeful the wrapping paper edition will also raise the awareness level of Nashville's homeless paper. They fear a proposed Metro ordinance that would restrict sales along the right-of-way of streets and could mean the end of the paper.

"So this is a good time for Nashvillians to get out there and show their support of the city, and the paper, and those in need, and hopefully that'll have some impact next year when the ordinance comes around," according to Buntin.

The paper will have more chances this year for customers to see different the artwork of its vendors.

"We've staggered the printing, so there will be more copies, and more editions printed this year, but they'll be staggered out over the next four weeks so the people can get the gift wrap edition throughout the holiday season," Buntin said.

The first series of designs will run through December 6. The second set of wrapping paper designs will hit the street on December 7.