ARCHER CITY (KFDX/KJTL) — Folks in Archer County have probably made it a habit of picking up the local newspaper every Thursday with their morning coffee.
The couple responsible for the Archer County News said they are now ready to retire.
The weekly paper began making headlines in 1908.
In August 2011, Barbara and Jerry Phillips took it over, but they never did it for the pay. Instead, they said the memories and friendships that have come out of owning this paper are priceless.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Jerry Phillips said. “It has been, for sure,” Barbara Phillips added.
The Phillips have spent the past eight years pouring their love and time into that newspaper.
“If there’s anything like Grand Central Station in Archer City, this is it because everybody feels like they need to come in and talk about what’s going on, so we’ve had some wonderful relationships with people who come by,” Jerry Phillips said.
The Phillips said they wouldn’t change that for the world, because of all of the stories the job has brought them.
“So many neat things that we’ve seen, people traveling across the world on horseback and on foot, it’s just amazing what we’ve seen and the people that we’ve met,” Barbara Phillips said.
When they decided it was time to retire and sell their second home, they knew one thing, the buyer had to continue the longstanding theme of community in the paper.
“It’s no secret that weekly papers in West Texas and East Texas and smaller towns are beginning to dry up and so finding a buyer was not an easy process, we would sell it to somebody who would make it a community paper as its been for 100 years and give us that commitment as a purchaser, and Blake has done that,” Jerry Phillips said.
Blake Gumprecht, a former editor and reporter at several newspapers from Alabama to North Dakota, reached out to the Phillips in their moment of need.
“Two years later, we put it on the Texas Press Association website, and he saw it again, and fate just brought us back together,” Barbara Phillips said.
Now, through the people of his new home, he’ll write up his own version of the Archer County News.
It’s a version that Phillips hope is even more successful than their beloved product.
“We write about our neighbors, our mission statement when we started the paper was ‘We want to write the stories of the people of Archer County,” Jerry Phillips said. “We’ve done that.”
The Phillips’ final paper will be published next Thursday, Jan. 2.
Just as the previous owners did, they’re planning a farewell article to reflect on the past eight years and show their appreciation to the community that they love.