Cheryl Vespoint: Work hard and never give up

Teri Saylor

Special to Publishers' Auxiliary

Nov 1, 2022

Staff of The Barberton (Ohio) Herald is pictured outside the office building in 2016.

Cheryl Vespoint has published The Barberton (Ohio) Herald since 2004, after purchasing it from her mother and stepfather, David Allen Richardson and Catherine Ann Robertson. In a 2016 Publishers’ Auxiliary profile, Vespoint described the most challenging aspect of taking over the family business — the digital frontier.

Here’s how that profile described her challenges in 2005.

Vespoint had never touched a Mac, and neither she nor any of her fellow publishers had ever heard of social media. Mark Zuckerberg had just launched “The Facebook” at Harvard University. Twitter was still a year away.

Yet Vespoint and The Barberton Herald made their way onto the forefront of technology and social media, and with a little intellectual muscle and a lot of hard work, they are setting themselves up as a modern, 21st Century news outlet.

By 2016, she had overcome those challenges and had bridged the digital divide.

“While mastering digital and social media has been hard, we are now on the cutting edge,” she said.

Today, the paper is published both online and in print. It has a thriving social media presence with 31,750 followers on Facebook. Vespoint lives in Port Charlotte, Florida, where she and her neighbors are still recovering from Hurricane Ian’s devastation.

She says The Barberton Herald was officially established in 1923, although its roots go back further.

“The Herald actually began in Kenmore in 1921 before relocating to the Magic City on West Tuscarawas Avenue,” she wrote in an email. “The newspaper relocated several times before settling in at its present location, 70 Fourth Street Northwest, in 1967.”

Barberton is known as the Magic City because it is said to have “grown like magic” in the early 1900s after city founder O.C. Barber developed industry there. Today, the population is around 26,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In the 1920s, the newspaper was a bargain, with single copies selling for 2 cents and annual subscriptions for $1.00. In an era when women weren’t active in newspapers, The Barberton Herald had a female publisher, Beverly L. Miller. She began working for the newspaper in 1958 and eventually became the publisher until 1981.

Today, at $24 for an annual subscription to the print edition, The Barberton Herald is still a great bargain.

In this space, Vespoint shares her thoughts about publishing The Barberton Herald over the past 18 years.


“The Barberton Herald has average sales of 5,500 through print and online subscriptions,” Vespoint said. “The newspaper has a major foothold in the Magic City and very loyal readers.

“We offer both the printed edition and the online edition. The online edition offers flexibility to read on any smartphone, iPad or computer. With the online subscription, one can search archives back to 2010, download articles or pages, enlarge for easier reading and much more.”

The Barberton Herald is published on Thursdays, and the deadline is Monday at 3 p.m.

“The Herald uses integrated Postal Software with SATORI, CASS Certification, Zip+4, Line of travel, Carrier route and Delivery point bar code since Oct. 2009,” Vespoint said.


“The only trusted news source for Barberton, Norton and surrounding areas since 1923.”

“The Herald has been working with a skeleton crew since COVID,” Vespoint said. “All staff members are born and raised in Barberton or Norton. They are hardworking and trustworthy and give 100% to every edition. The Barberton Herald could not survive without each and every one of them.

“The Barberton Herald plays a major role in the community of Barberton and Norton. Studies done by The Barberton Community Foundation continue to prove that residents turn to the pages of the Herald for events, politics, crime and more. Because The Barberton Herald has been in the same location with the same name for over 50 years, the foothold in the community is one of the strongest in Ohio.”


“I purchased The Barberton Herald in 2004 when my parents retired,” Vespoint said. “I had just finished a long battle with breast cancer. Prior to purchasing the newspaper, I had been a police officer, bank manager and realtor. A friend loaned me the money to purchase the newspaper.

“When I purchased the newspaper, I had never dreamt I would be in this position. I took a leap of faith and worked hard. I spent many nights away from my young son, sometimes working until midnight to keep the paper afloat. I am proud of bringing The Herald into the digital age, being recognized as having a very large social media following for a newspaper and community of our size.

“I enjoy our loyal readers and being able to give back to my hometown. Many readers stop into the office just to talk and visit. I know our readers trust us to bring them the news they need and can rely on. Since being born and raised in Barberton and Norton, I believe the readers know we are working hard to bring them the news they need.

“My mother and my father were my role models. Both were very hard workers. My mother was a fierce businesswoman and a volunteer. My father was a police officer. I have always promoted women in the workplace and in leadership roles. The Barberton Herald publishes a ‘Women Mean Business’ special production promoting the hard-working women in or area, which has won awards from the Ohio News Media Association.


“I am a black belt in tae kwon do,” Vespoint said. “I am a ham radio operator and a sailor.

“I do not believe I have any superpowers that makes me any better than anyone else. I have struggled with family issues, illness, doubt, and failure, just as everyone else. My mother always told me that just working hard was never enough; you had to be a little lucky and never give up. I feel that I have been very lucky at life.

“I enjoy fishing, and I always listen to ‘70s music. I have a little yorkie named Piper and a beautiful, majestic cat named Malachi. I studied law in college and dreamt of being a judge. If I could do it all over again, I would study meteorology.

“My neighborhood (in Florida) is still struggling from the effects of hurricane Ian. We had two weeks without power. For the first several days after the storm, I went from sunup to sun down delivering meals, water, ice and gas for generators to those who could not get out. I feel that God had put me in the right place to do the most good. I am thankful I was there and uninjured so I could help those in need during that desperate time.”


Cheryl L. Vespoint
4227 Nettle Rd.
Port Charlotte, FL 33953

Teri Saylor is a business writer in Raleigh, North Carolina. Contact her at