By Mike and Scott Buffington
Publishers, MainStreet Newspapers
This Dec. 28 issue of The Commerce News marks the last edition of the newspaper as an independent publication. Beginning next week, news from the Commerce area will be incorporated into The Jackson Herald as the two newspapers merge.
While this move makes sense from a business point of view, it was emotionally a very difficult decision to make.
Our relationship with The Commerce News goes back to 1965 when our parents purchased The Jackson Herald. At that time, the two newspapers were competitors in the Jackson County market. When The News beat us on a story or had a better photo from Friday night’s football game, it always pushed us to try harder in The Herald.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Commerce was the major retail shopping area for much of Jackson and surrounding counties. The Jackson Herald had always been more focused on the Jefferson area than Commerce, but our father decided that it would be good business to expand more into Commerce and the east side of Jackson County.
Over the next 20 years, we pursued an aggressive growth strategy in the area, ramping up news coverage and adding new readers along the way.