Royal Palm Beach chef wins $100,000 in GateHouse Media's Crack The Code contest

Learn more about this summer-long promotion at the SNPA-Inland Annual Meeting in October


The first big prize Robert Brovero ever won was a big box of records by Chicago, Pink Floyd and other music stalwarts from his local New York-area radio station. The most recent? A big check.

"It's the 'Happy Gilmore' check!'" joked Brovero, of Royal Palm Beach, referencing the giant cardboard checks seen in the classic Adam Sandler golf comedy. But this was no movie; the longtime Palm Beach Post reader and executive chef at Breakers West is $100,000 richer as the winner of the Crack The Code contest, a summer-long promotion at 150 GateHouse Media newspapers nationwide.

Out of about 550,000 entries, Brovero's was selected in the contest, which required readers to know a code word printed every day on page A2 of participating newspapers over an eight-week period, says Rick Dumas, senior director of single copy sales for GateHouse Media.

Dumas will share details about the contest with SNPA and Inland members at the Oct. 6-8 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Learn more about the Annual Meeting and register.

"The response was phenomenal," says Dumas, adding that the promotion created a bump in single copy purchases of the participating newspapers during that time, accounting for about 28 percent of the entries. And even though many participants, like Brovero, entered almost every day, the total entries came from 65,000 unique emails. Dumas himself got to give Brovero the good news, while the winner was out on the golf course with friends.

"I was jumping up and down," recalls Brovero, who jumped so exuberantly that he lost his glasses on the course. The $100,000 grand prize was the largest chunk of a $150,000 pot that saw smaller weekly winners of several thousand dollars at a time, as well as monthly winners that were awarded $100 shopping sprees. Brovero, who bought an expensive kitchen knife on his shopping spree, was then entered into the drawing for the grand prize.

Brovero says that he and wife Diana plan to spend the money on things like their daughter's wedding next spring, a possible trip to Italy for the two of them "and a CD to save for taxes," says the admittedly frugal Diana, who describes herself as "a coupon girl."

The prize is just a perk of Palm Beach Post readership for Brovero, who says he often encourages his Breakers West co-workers to get the paper. "I always say 'Stay informed. Get the whole story.'"

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