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Paper Pusher: Barnard Teen Sells Sunday New York Times From His Porch

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Oliver Szott reading — and selling — the paper - COURTESY OF PAMELA FRASER
  • Courtesy Of Pamela Fraser
  • Oliver Szott reading — and selling — the paper

One Upper Valley teen is doing his best to keep print media alive.

After the Barnard General Store stopped selling the New York Times last year, 14-year-old Oliver Szott started selling the paper himself. He'd heard from neighbors who were upset and saw an opportunity to capitalize.

"I knew it would be a nice service, even though it's not profitable, just to help them out and make a couple dollars a week on the side," the budding entrepreneur said.

When he started last summer, Szott would buy about a dozen copies of the Times and a few Boston Globes. Instead of creating his own paper route, he set up each morning outside of a Barnard church. 

But as the cold settled in last fall, Szott retreated to his own front porch. When his weekday business dwindled to just one steady customer, he decided to carry the Sunday paper only.

Every week, a news distributor drops a bundle of the Times on Szott's porch. Szott said he pays the distributor the cover price of $6 for each paper, plus a $3 delivery charge.

He sells the papers for $7 each, meaning he makes about a $5 profit each week. But Szott, who previously started a craft soda company called VT Fizz, says he's not in it for the money. Rather, he appreciates the business experience he's gained and the fact that he's helping people in his community.

One lesson Szott's learned during his first year in the newspaper business: There was "so much hype at first, then it kinda declined," he lamented. People who were so supportive in the beginning "kind of decided they don't read the paper as much as they thought they would — which is kinda sad."

Indeed, kid. Indeed.