Salisbury Post purchased by Boone Newspapers affiliate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Post has been sold.

Salisbury Newsmedia LLC, a newly formed affiliate of Boone Newspapers Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., completed the purchase of the Post Tuesday. The new North Carolina company bought the Post, the Davie County Enterprise-Record and the Clemmons Courier from Charleston, S.C.-based Evening Post Industries, which had owned the newspapers since 1997.

Publisher Greg Anderson and key personnel plan to remain with the Salisbury, Mocksville and Clemmons newspapers.

Salisbury Newsmedia “will work hard to meet our every obligation to readers, customers, employees and all who have a stake in Salisbury,” said Todd H. Carpenter, one of the new owners and president and chief operating officer of Boone Newspapers.

“We are pleased that Greg Anderson is remaining with us as publisher,” Carpenter said. “His steady leadership and knowledge of the community will be important to us during the transition and thereafter.”

Carpenter Newsmedia LLC and Boone Newspapers own controlling interest in the Salisbury Post.

“We look forward to drawing on the innovation and creativity of a larger group of media companies in the Boone family,” Anderson said.

Boone Newspapers manages newspapers in similar-sized communities in North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan. The company’s North Carolina papers include the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald in Ahoskie, Washington Daily News, Tryon Daily Bulletin, Gates County Index in Gatesville and Scuppernong Reminder in Columbia.

Anderson said the Post will continue its involvement in the community, including hosting the annual Pops at the Post concert.

“Right now, it’ll be business as usual,” he said. “The expectations from our customers are still the same — deliver quality local news through multiple channels, use our marketing expertise to partner with local businesses and continue our civic leadership roles.”

Evening Post Industries would not disclose the sale price of the Post, but CEO and President John Barnwell said the price “met expectations.”

“Above everything else, we are delighted to sell to another family-oriented and I would say family-owned enterprise that will be good stewards of the newspaper, just like the Hurleys before us,” Barnwell said. “And I think we were good stewards of the newspaper as well.”

Evening Post Industries sold the Post and a small Texas newspaper as part of a strategic decision to reduce the company’s dependence on newspaper publishing revenue and further diversify into other business lines, Barnwell said.

“We had a wonderful experience with the Post and enjoyed our relationship with the staff and with the community for the years that we owned it,” he said.

Evening Post Industries will concentrate on newspapers it owns in South Carolina, including two dailies and a dozen weeklies. The company also will continue to own and operate broadcast TV stations and further diversify in other non media-related business lines, Barnwell said.

Salisbury Newsmedia purchased the Post building and Holmes Place, a building next to the Post that shares the courtyard parking lot. A warehouse behind the Post building was included in the sale as well.

Evening Post Industries continues to own the Oestreicher Building, Elizabeth Court and the Leonard Building, which stand side-by-side on South Main Street and all have tenants.

“We plan to market those properties at the appropriate time,” Barnwell said.

The Post debuted as the Salisbury Evening Post on Jan. 9, 1905 and was owned by the Hurley family from 1912 to 1997.

The Post has consistently ranked as one of the best daily newspapers of its size in North Carolina. Last year, the paper won 23 awards in the annual N.C. Press Association editorial and photojournalism contest, including first-place honors in a dozen categories and second place for General Excellence.

J.B. Doub, E.C. Arey and Gabe M. Royal launched the first edition of the Salisbury Evening Post in 1905, proclaiming it as the city’s leading afternoon newspaper. The paper started at 1141/2 N. Main St.

Joe X. Roueche and Clint N. Brown soon bought the Post and moved it across North Main Street to the upstairs of the original Meroney Theater.

An investment group headed by J.F. Hurley Sr. of Concord bought the newspaper in 1912, beginning the 85-year period when a Hurley served as publisher of the Post.

The Post would move to 110 W. Innes St., then 131 W. Innes St. J.F. Hurley Sr. bought out other shareholders in the Post in 1919. Over the decades to come, James F. Hurley Sr., J.F. Hurley Jr. and James F. Hurley III would head the newspaper until the family sold the business to Evening Post Industries on Jan. 31, 1997.

Now, Salisbury Newsmedia will publish the Post, as well as its websites and affiliated publications including Marketplace Miner, Living In The South and Insider magazines, the Chamber of Commerce Membership and Visitors Guide and TimeOut, a weekly entertainment publication covering the arts, music, theatre and dining.

James B. Boone Jr. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is chief executive officer of Boone Newspapers, which has a rich history of quality newspapers and other publications in the communities it serves.

“We seek to produce the highest quality product the economics of the community served can support,” said Carpenter, explaining Boone’s corporate philosophy. “And then, by ingenuity and imagination, we strive for a higher quality in an effort to serve and build that community.”

Cribb, Greene & Associates of Charlottesville, Va., represented Evening Post Industries in the sale.

Reporter Mark Wineka contributed to this article.

Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.