“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2: 8-14)

It was a year ago Thanksgiving eve that Corby and I signed way more papers than I can remember and then shook hands with Joe Williams. When the dust settled, we had bought The Coweta Shopper from Mr. Joe, and it has been a whirlwind ever since.

Reflecting back on this past year, a lot happened. Not only did we change the name from The Coweta Shopper to The Shopper, we also just moved from Pine Road to 15 Perry St. in downtown Newnan. The first change made it more attractive when moving into adjoining counties; the second put us much closer to advertisers and a much better business environment.

We added a lot of features to The Shopper, and increased distribution to around 45,000. That gives us a penetration – around 85 percent – no one can come close to. We also have well more than 3,000 in Peachtree City.

Our biggest move was starting The Paper this past summer. It’s designed as a “what to do, see, eat”  in the area. And based on the response, which has far exceeded our expectations, it’s filled a much needed gap. It is not replacing The Shopper, rather complementing it with additional features and providing another vehicle for our advertisers.

We started with 2,500 copies a month. We’ve doubled that circulation and are looking at doubling again soon. We started with no newspaper racks, we now have 25 throughout the county and just ordered another 25. We started with about 30 businesses taking copies of The Paper to distribute. We are now about to hit 100.

We are continuing to add columns as well. There’s a theater/film/on demand column, and other columns on the arts, real estate, trends, best food joints, the music scene, interviews with some great local residents and well, who knows what’s next.

So thanks to everyone, readers and advertisers alike.

Despite the craziness that has become Brown Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and whatever else the marketers come up with, I hope you take a moment and just pause.

Pause and remember what this time of year is really about. It’s about a baby who was born in a manger, who within a brief life spanning less than 35 years, changed the world like no other. To this day his is despised, hated, and even forgotten.

For others, he is honored, worshipped and followed as the Savior, Christ the Lord.

There really isn’t a middle ground here.

For my part, on behalf of the entire team of The Paper and The Shopper, I’d like to take a moment and say, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers and advertisers. And our wish for you is that each of you have a prosperous 2018 and focus on what is important, what is eternal, what matters.

And please, as you celebrate the holidays and new year, SHOP LOCAL!