by Kharlos Panterra

A few weeks ago I took a spontaneous trip to Denver CO by moving van, with a friend of mine. The trip began on a late Sunday afternoon, with a brief stop in Las Vegas, NM to pick up a passenger we had connected with through Craigslist.

On Monday morning I went into the office of Denver Voice and spoke with the staff about vending their paper. I had arrived too late for the mandatory orientation. I returned the second day, filled out forms, watched a video on how the paper had started and how to legally vend the paper on Denver’s streets, etc.

When the orientation was over I was given an identification badge and 10 complementary papers to get started. The orientation video mentioned various tried-and-true locations, including 16th St. Mall. In the four days I worked Downtown I came to understand the value of vending a street paper along with some of the challenges associated with it:

  • Ten free copies is a good incentive to get folks started
  • A well-known and well-established newspaper have people looking forward to its newest issues.
  • The identification badge offers a more official look for the vendor.
  • Vending a local newspaper attracts residents and those who want to stay in informed about local issues. And not just regarding homelessness.
  • The mandatory orientation establishes vendor standards and also educates vendors about legal rights and how to address police, business owners, and the general public.
  • I earned $45 in 1 hour during his best day of vending on 16th St. Mall. That’s not bad! It proves that this can work if given the right amount of foot traffic and good selling conditions.
It has been almost 2 years since I first caught wind of the street paper movement while studying City Planning at the University of New Mexico. After attending the 2015 International Network of Street Paper Summit in Seattle, I knew that Albuquerque’s original street paper launched in 1990 had to be revived.



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