Gary M. Greene
Fayetteville Publishing Company, owners of The Fayetteville Observer in Fayetteville, NC, has purchased the IWANNA publications based in Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC from Katherine Corn, according to Gary Greene of Cribb, Greene & Associates, who represented the seller in the transaction.
No terms were disclosed. The companies are privately held.
The IWANNA publications are distributed weekly and sold in thousands of stores. The Asheville edition sells for $1.25; the Greenville edition costs $1. The two papers are distributed in about 30 counties in western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and northern Georgia. The company’s website is www.iwanna.com.
The IWANNA publications along with its website publish thousands of free classified advertisements each week and are regarded as the largest single source of classified advertising in the markets that it serves. The publications contain several hundred pages of classified advertising weekly and are printed in the company’s 40,000 square foot Asheville plant.
Charles Broadwell, the president and publisher of Fayetteville Publishing, said IWANNA would continue to operate from its present offices in Asheville and Greenville under existing management.
Katherine Corn and her late husband, Bobby, founded IWANNA in 1976 and published the first editions from the dining room of their home. The Corns had served in the military and many times were relocated and forced to buy and sell furniture and household items. They created the IWANNA as a free source of classified advertising for its readers. The concept caught on and grew quickly. IWANNA has grown to more than 100 employees and its business has expanded into display and insert advertising as well as job printing.
“From one family-owned company to another, we intend to carry on the publishing tradition that Mr. and Mrs. Corn started more than 30 years ago with IWANNA,” Broadwell said. “We know that IWANNA has gained tremendous loyalty among its thousands of readers and advertisers in the communities it serves. We’ll work hard to build on that successful track record.”
The purchase should not affect the operations of The Fayetteville Observer, Broadwell said. He said the acquisition reflects the company’s desire to continue to grow and diversify. In recent years, Fayetteville Publishing has developed new publications and websites and expanded its commercial-printing division. In 1999, the company completed a $30 million expansion that included the installation of new printing presses at its headquarters at 458 Whitfield St.
The family-owned Fayetteville Publishing Co. was established in 1923. It is one of Cumberland County’s largest private companies with about 400 employees in Fayetteville. The company’s daily newspaper, The Observer, was established in 1816. It is the largest privately owned daily newspaper in North Carolina.
Cribb, Greene & Associates is an eighty-four year old newspaper brokerage company with offices in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Bozeman, Montana.