In October 1983, 30 years ago this month, Counterman
magazine made its debut, complete with its now beloved “wizard” cover. It was a great issue. (I mean, what’s not to like about that guy’s wizard getup, right?)
With that inaugural issue, Counterman
became the only publication dedicated to catering to the needs of automotive aftermarket parts professionals.
In that issue, publisher Tom Babcox wrote a column with words that, to me, ring as true now as they did then. “As the final link in the distribution chain, you may be the most important link because you are the sales connection to the customer. Moreover, your expertise makes you invaluable.”
Focusing a publication on counter professionals was a huge step in the aftermarket. Proof of this was seen in the November/December 1983 issue. In several letters, readers told us what they thought of their new magazine. One counterpro wrote, “After my 35 years in this business, you have come up with the best tool for training countermen I have ever seen. Thanks.”
Another wrote, “This publication fills the void! I saw myself in at least three articles... “
And another wrote, “How did I get along without it?”
What sticks out in my mind after reading the first few issues is that I have taken for granted this magazine exists. (I think you might also.) After all, this magazine was here when I got here at Babcox Media in 2008. It’s not my magazine; I consider myself the steward. It’s actually your magazine (and website and twice-weekly newsletter!)
Which brings me to another thought: there are times when the aftermarket takes the counter professional for granted as well. You’ve always been there, right? You always know how to get the right part on the delivery truck or car just in time to make it to the professional technician. That this magazine has made it 30 years is more a testament to you. So, yes, we’re celebrating the magazine’s 30th anniversary, but in a way, we’re celebrating the counter professional.