MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Independent, which has a sister newspaper in Brandon and two others in Colchester and Essex, is slated to soon expand the family with another sister newspaper, this one based in Killington.
Addison Press Inc. owner Angelo Lynn announced this week that he and Royal Barnard, owner of The Mountain Timesof Killington, have signed a letter of intent for Lynn to purchase The Mountain Timesand its ancillary publications as of Sept. 1.
“It’s a great fit for us, and we’re excited to take over the strong publications that Royal and his wife, Zip, have created in Killington and Rutland over the past 25 years,” Lynn said. “Our goal is to create a strong network of publications that serve the readers and advertisers of this region in the best way possible.”
Addison Press Inc. currently owns The Addison County Independent, The Reporter (which covers the communities of Brandon, Pittsford, Proctor and West Rutland), Vermont Ski & Ride Magazine (a statewide magazine produced in the summer, fall and monthly December through March) and Freedom Publications, publishers of five “little phone books” that serve Addison and Rutland counties, as well as the Manchester, Okemo Valley and Mount Snow regions.
Lynn is also co-owner with his brother, Emerson, of Lynn Publications Inc., which owns the Colchester Sunand Essex Reporter, two other weekly community newspapers. The purchase will bring the total number of people working at Addison Press Inc. to about 45, with another nine employees at Lynn Publications Inc.
Lynn is a fourth-generation newspaper publisher and has owned The Independent since 1984. He is a native of Kansas, where his family started in the newspaper business in the 1882.
His oldest daughter, Polly Lynn, 27, who graduated from Middlebury Union High School in 2001 and Middlebury College in 2005, will serve as editor/publisher of the Killington newspaper. She has been living in Denver, Colo., for the past several years working for Education First, an international company that organizes study abroad programs for high schools and colleges throughout the world, as well as being a weekend ski instructor at Vail Ski Resort. Jason Mikula, also a Middlebury College graduate, and who played on the Panthers’ national championship hockey teams in the late 1990s, will join Polly Lynn in sales at The Mountain Times. Lynn and Mikula met while working at Education First.
(Lynn’s youngest daughter, Elsie, 24, who graduated from MUHS in 2005 and from Colorado College in 2009, became the managing editor of the Essex and Colchester newspapers earlier this summer.)
The Mountain Timeswas founded in 1972 as The Killington-Pico Paper by Edward Pickett. Pickett also owned Ski Racing Magazineand the Deerfield Valley News. He sold The Killington-Pico Paperto Andy Neisner of Killington around 1976. The title was later changed to The Mountain Times and subsequently sold to Fred and Olga Straka.
In 1986, The Mountain Timeswas sold to the Barnards, who have run it as a family-owned business for the past 25 years.
“Angelo and I have been friends for several years,” Royal Barnard said, “and when the notion came of handing our business from one family to another, he was our first choice. Angelo and I share marketing philosophies, management styles, personal values, and a vision of how both print and digital media fit in with the needs and desires of the 21st Century.
“My wife, Zip, and I intend to work through an orderly transition period with Angelo and family and we foresee a bright, creative environment and a fresh level of energy taking our place ... along with the same wonderful staff and family members that have been the strength of our organization and have been our best friends.”
The Barnards, meanwhile, will continue to live in Rutland, pursue hobbies and visit their daughter and her family, who will be relocating to the New Jersey area for the upcoming school year.
“I would be a liar if I said there is not some sadness and anxiety about this change for my family,” Barnard said. “However, we are making the change from choice, and not need, and we have chosen our successors for principle and not money. We are blessed to be able to do so.”
Lynn added that he anticipated retaining existing staff, adding a graphic designer, and keeping the same general policies that have been in place at The Mountain Times. The Timeshas free circulation of 12,000 to 15,000 copies each week to approximately 350 stand locations, plus is mailed to 4,000 homes. The paper is available at all resort locations, and most public places in more than 40 towns and has exclusive distribution at Killington Resort. Subscriptions are mailed to subscribers in 24 states, according to the paper's website.
“It’s a well-run organization and we’re honored and happy to build on a great tradition there,” Lynn said, adding that the combination of the multiple print and digital products will offer an even more effective means of reaching customers throughout the Rutland County market. “It makes each entity stronger than ever,” Lynn said, “and when we package it all together, we think we’ll be able to cover all the diverse interests of Rutland County in a very cost-effective way.”