Rance Crain, the president of Crain Communication, writes about how Crain’s Chicago Business started as part of the company’s 100th anniversary.
Crain writes, “Some of our strongest brands — Crain’s Chicago Business, Modern Healthcare, InvestmentNews — started during the time my mother, Gertrude Crain, served as chairwoman. She took over for my dad when he died in 1973 and served until she passed away in 1996.
“Mom was very supportive of both my brother and me when we wanted to expand, but she also grilled us to make sure we were fully committed. When we started Crain’s Chicago Business in 1978, I was only half-joking when I used to give a talk about how I summoned up my courage and walked boldly into the office of the chairman of the board, saying, ‘I’ve got this great idea, Mom.’
“Timing played a big part in the arrival of CCB. Back in 1977, I was in Houston to give a talk to the local ad club, and afterward Bob Gray, publisher of the Houston Business Journal, was kind enough to take me through his operation and show me how his publication worked and the economics of it. I got to thinking that if it worked in Houston — and it did — it would work twice as well in Chicago.
“At first, people were a little skeptical about our new paper. Chicago, I found, had a perceptible second-city syndrome. People would say to me, ‘I think I like it, but if it’s so good, why didn’t you do it in New York?'”
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