All those sterling qualities are being put to the test in the suddenly very competitive Chelsea news market. According to Joe Wiggins, spokesperson for AOL's 850 Patch sites, traffic at the Dexter Patch is up 60 percent over last year. "We're so happy with the Dexter site's success we're launching the Chelsea site," Wiggins says. And they're so happy with Dexter's director that Lai is now also director of the Chelsea site--putting him up against his friend and mentor.
In addition to Chelsea.Patch.com, Allmendinger also is going up against the Heritage chain's Chelsea Standard, where she once worked. But "I don't look at them like competition," she says, tactfully. "The more options people have to read stories, the better."
[Originally published in November, 2012.]