After almost 24 years at the Summerland Review, Jo Freed has retired from her job as advertising manager.
She was raised in Summerland and also raised her own children here.
“I wanted to work here in Summerland,” she said. “I’ve always loved this town.”
She applied at the Summerland Review in 1991 and was hired as a front office employee. Within a year she had moved into sales and has been selling advertising for the paper ever since.
“I’ve always been passionate about my job,” she said. “I’ve never considered doing anything else because I’ve always enjoyed what I’ve been doing.”
Over the years Freed has built up many long-term relationships with those in the business community. She has taken the time to get to know her clients and learn about their businesses and the products that they offer. In so doing, she has been able to know how to best feature and promote them. Her goal was to showcase local businesses so people would not feel it was necessary to leave town to buy things.
“If you don’t support the businesses that have chosen to set up here, because they love this community, you’re not going to have that business around anymore,” she explained. “I’ve seen that over the years.”
Freed enjoyed the challenge of coming up with new ideas and promotions, always looking for a way to “change things up a little bit.” She also enjoyed doing special features on the different clubs and organizations in the community as well as the agricultural industry.
“I’ve always enjoyed my clients. That’s the one thing I liked the most about my job,” she explained. “My clients are the ones that always kept me motivated and happy to come to work every day.”
As the advertising manager she also knew the important role that advertising played in the production of any printed page. “Advertising is what keeps our paper going,” she said. “You can’t have a paper without it.”
Over the years at the Review, she has seen many changes. She has worked for three different owners and many different staff members.
“Staff changes happen all the time,” she said. “John (Arendt) is the only one that’s been here for 20 years. It’s the longest I’ve ever worked with anyone.”
None of the changes have mattered to Freed. What’s important to her is, “the fact that it’s still the Summerland Review. It’s a community newspaper. We concentrate on our community,” she said.
Even though she has been busy working full time, she still found time to be involved with local clubs and organizations, such as the Summerland Trail Riders Association and the Kettle Valley Steam Railway. She and her husband Mike were instrumental in starting the Garnett Valley Gang.
In the future she wants to pick and choose what she wants to do and when she wants to do it.
“I’m looking forward to doing things that I never had time to do, or should have made time for and never did,” she said. “I want to travel and visit my kids and grandkids and they live all over the world.”
She would also like to get back into playing the piano, which she hasn’t done since taking lessons as a teenager.
The outpouring of messages that she has received since announcing her retirement has been a surprise for Freed.
“I’ve had so many emails coming in from people that are congratulating me and saying we’re going to miss you, it overwhelms me at times,” she said. “It’s so nice to know I have been appreciated, because I have appreciated the people I’ve dealt with too.”
She is glad that she is able to retire now while she is still able to do things, recognizing the fact that one never knows how long one has. She plans to live life fully.
“I love my community! I love being here and I always have. I’m going to enjoy what this town has to offer me, during my retirement years,” she concluded.