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Sand Lake Advertiser

Sixty (+) years of The Advertiser

front page of 12/27/58 Sand Lake AdvertiserTo use his own words, Al Hayner is in his 92nd year! You wouldn't guess it by looking at him or by how busy he is! His eyes twinkle, he smiles broadly, and his memory is amazing.

Al started a little paper he called the Sand Lake Advertiser in 1958. He already had a full-time job at the Legislative Digest, an appliance store in the center of Averill Park, and a family, so why would he start a paper? You have to go back to his youth to understand.

When Hayner was 15, he wanted a job and spending money. He went to Faith Mills but wasn't hired as he was too young. Al's father had a small store on the corner of Burden Lake and Sheer roads. The store was generally leased out from Memorial Day 'til Labor Day, while many rented camps for the summer months to escape the heat of the cities. Al asked his father if he could rent and run the store. His father told him that he would need startup money.

real photo post card of the Hayner storeAl went into Troy and talked to Mr. Manory, a successful Italian immigrant who spoke broken English. Mr. Manory gave him ice cream and a freezer with the understanding that Al would pay when he returned for more ice cream. Opening on Memorial Day weekend, it was only mid-June when some local boys set the store on fire. By then, Al was already selling papers, soda and kerosene in addition to ice cream. The fire destroyed the store, but a firewall saved an attached camp.

With some help and ingenuity, Al salvaged and added to the floor of the old store, creating a large porch/dance floor. Mr. Manory generously ripped up the bill owed for that week, and provided him with more ice cream and a second freezer. Soon there was a nickelodeon on the porch and Al took in half the profits. He also was the biggest delivery on the Pepsi driver's route. Hayner attributes this and other blessings as "divine intervention."

2nd page of 12/27/58 Sand Lake AdvertiserAfter World War II, Al met Marilyn, the love of his life. He proposed when she turned 18, and she accepted -- "Divine intervention" once again as they were married for 58 years.

Meanwhile ...Al's appliance store, Merrilace, sold only two appliances one July. The woman who purchased these had seen the store's sign when driving by, and she liked Norge appliances, which were sold there. Living in Rensselaer, she hadn't realized the store existed. Al tried a radio ad but had no results. Later he asked Marilyn if she was interested in starting a newspaper. Marilyn was his number one fan and she agreed.

Al is an entrepreneur and a natural salesman. Within days, Al had sold enough ads for a first addition. Marilyn helped with the layout, stencil cuts and her decorative handwriting. The paper was produced on a mimeograph machine. They printed copies and began direct mailing. The next week, Al sold enough ads once again and the paper was off and running.

page 3 of 12/27/58 Sand Lake Advertiser As time went on, the paper grew and Charlotte Foster, who was always reliable and helpful, printed it. Eventually, a bigger printer was needed.

Marilyn would cook dinner for the staff on late deadline nights. Daughter Alyson, at age 18, decided college was not for her. She asked to work at the paper, she eventually became the editor and is still there today! [Ed. Note: Late in 2021, the paper changed to a full-size newspaper format.]

The years rolled by! As the mailing included many more areas, "Sand Lake" was dropped from the name. In 1999, The Hearst Corp. purchased The Advertiser. Al insisted that the existing staff keep their jobs. Several of the staff have now been there for 39+ years; that's the kind of man he is!

4th page of 12/27/58 Sand Lake Advertiser The paper has grown, and technology has changed. Once a single-page edition produced on a mimeograph, the paper is now often 28 pages, full color, and digitally sent to the printer. Since its inception that fateful day in 1958, the paper has never missed an issue.

Hayner's philosophy is to always look to the future. If something doesn't work out, let it go and move on! – Dee Erickson, from Historical Highlights, Volume 44, No. 2, Winter 2018. Images on this page are from Volume 1, No. 22, December 27, 1958 issue of the Sand Lake Advertiser.

[Ed. Note: Albert A. Hayner passed away at the age of 95 on January 29, 2022. The paper is no longer edited and produced in Town, with that change occuring in 2019, but significant "local" content remains! Late in 2021, the paper changed from a tabloid to a full-size newspaper format.]

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Created 2/4/2022; last revised March 27, 2022 -- asm. © 2002-2022 Sand Lake Historical Society; all rights reserved.