the local Oracle was formed in February 2004 by two cousins, Anna and Jane Marshall.
Anna was living in West Malling and Jane had recently moved into Kings Hill – a new development, with a growing number of new members of the community.
There seemed to be a lack of information for this new community so they thought it might be a good idea to put together a small guide for the local trades and see how it worked. The first issue included 47 local businesses and 2,000 copies were printed. It was an A5 single colour publication with the text A-Z boxes only.
It was such a success that within three months the distribution increased to 3,500 to cover part of West Malling! It is worth noting that 10 of these advertisers are still with the local Oracle today (2016) 12 years later! This edition has continued to increase and currently has a distribution of 16,500 copies each month.
In March 2005, the Paddock Wood edition was started and in time spread to Tonbridge and surrounding villages with a distribution now of 15,000.
Between 2004 and 2008, there were a number of changes in format with the inclusion of picture adverts in ¼, ½ and full pages but it wasn’t until 2008 that the local Oracle went full colour with glossy pages! It was an exciting change and took the publication to another level. Our advertisers got better responses and it looked better on the coffee table or next to the phone.
In 2009 Aylesford/Barming edition was born with 5,000 copies and has now increased to 15,000 also covering Allington and Ditton and moving its way into Maidstone. The most recent addition is the Sevenoaks area which started in July 2015 with a current distribution of 12, 000 making a total of 58,500 local Oracles every month.
In spite of the changes in format over the years Anna and Jane have been very careful to make sure it remains easy to use. Advertisers report that the local Oracle is found in most homes next to the phone for times of need. It isn’t a magazine with editorial that will be discarded after reading cover to cover; it is to be kept. There have been stories of many advertisers building their business off the back of the local Oracle.
Anna and Jane encourage feedback from people who have used advertisers whether it be good or bad. The publication has become a trusted source of information.