It was probably about three years after I started writing for Snips that I finally met Nick Carter. But I knew his name.
Almost every trade show or convention I went to, people would ask:
“Do you know Nick Carter?”
“Is Nick Carter here?”
For those of you who don’t know, Edward C. “Nick” Carter Jr. was the longtime editor and publisher of Snips magazine. He only retired after BNP Media bought the publication in 1997. The magazine was started by his father, whom Nick was named after, in 1932.
When I told them BNP had purchased the magazine and had a new staff, they’d invariably tell a story about the time Nick put their picture in an issue. It was framed on their office wall now, many would say. Sometimes, they’d admit that the name underneath wasn’t always correct or it might have been misspelled, but they didn’t seem to mind.
It was Snips, and its rough, black-and-white picture-packed layout with occasional typos was part of the charm.
MeetingsWhen I finally met Nick, it was at the Chicagoland Sheet Metal Contractors Association’s annual event in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. I had recently been named editor. We always have a booth at the Chicagoland show, since the city is Snips’ birthplace and home to many subscribers.
Nick, always an avid Snips reader, was warm and friendly, and told me he liked what we were doing with the magazine.
But what impressed me most was the number of people who stopped by our show booth to say hi - just because Nick was there. They recognized him immediately, even though his picture hadn’t been in the magazine for years and he seldom went to trade shows anymore. It was obvious what an effect this man had on Snips readers and the sheet metal industry.
I’m sad to report that Nick died Nov. 5 of cancer. He was 80.
It would be a cliché to say the magazine won’t be the same, but I’m going to miss Nick’s vast knowledge about the industry. His son, also named Edward Carter, told me Nick was never actually a sheet metal worker, but he loved the industry - and the people in it. It’s clear many of them felt the same about him.
Invaluable informationIf there was an obscure tool that a reader needed, I could count on Nick to help. More than once, I published letters from product-seeking readers, knowing that if anyone could help, it would be Nick. Sure enough, he’d soon send me a handwritten note listing the last company he knew that carried the item, or he’d suggest a similar tool he thought would work as well.
He would also send news items of interest from the Chicago area, or obituaries of contractors or salespeople he knew. I doubt anyone will be able to fill those roles.
As we prepare to celebrate Snips’ 75th anniversary in March, I was hoping to visit Nick for an article about the magazine’s past. Now, we’ll have to assemble the issue without his guidance. I’m still looking for readers to write in with their Snips memories. Please contact me at Snips magazine, BNP Media, 2401 W. Big Beaver Road, Suite 700, Troy, MI 48084, or e-mail to(addy). Include your name and title, as well as your company’s name and location, and a way to contact you. You can also call me at (248) 244-6416.
Now, I’d also like you to send in your stories about Nick. You can use the same addresses. I’m hoping we can include all of it in an issue that would make Nick proud.