May 26, 2018
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Two businesses fill newspaper delivery void created by Magazines Inc. sale

By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Newspaper readers in Greater Bangor, Ellsworth and coastal towns such as Mount Desert Island and Blue Hill came within six days of not being able to buy papers at their favorite store and newsstand shelves.

The pending sale of Magazines Inc. to Hudson-RPM Distributors LLC came within a week of creating a print news void, but now Hudson and another distribution business are delivering newspapers to stores and newsstands from Waterville to Old Town and Bangor and to coastal towns including Bar Harbor and Belfast.

“I was basically going to stop delivering papers on March 25,” said Ralph Foss, president of Magazines Inc. “On March 19 when I came to work, no one had come forward. Later that day, there were two people interested in distributing papers and other periodicals.”

“We’ve been delivering since March 26,” said David Boland, president of Fall River News Co. Inc., an 89-year-old Massachusetts distribution business. “That’s not an issue anymore. We ironed it out with The New York Times. They didn’t want to lose this circulation-sales route.”

Fall River now distributes The New York Times, USA Today, Sports Weekly and other USA Today special publications. Hudson-RPM delivers papers including The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, New York Daily News, and Barron’s daily to locations along the same route.

Meanwhile, while final terms of Magazines Inc.’s sale are still being negotiated, the change in day-to-day operations becomes official Thursday. Sale terms of Magazines Inc. did not include the newspaper delivery part of the business, as Hudson wasn’t initially interested in taking that on.

“I’m staying on to shepherd things between companies and get some stuff done,” Foss said. “As far as our current employees, some of the people will lose their jobs and others not. That’s all I’m going to say about it at this point.”

The announcement in February of the sale of Magazines Inc. and the closing of Mr. Paperback, both owned by the Foss family — Penny Robichaud, Foss and Pamela Williams — was accompanied by news of 120 employee layoffs.

The potential loss of a company distributing papers to Penobscot, Kennebec, Hancock and Waldo County towns would not have affected distribution of the Bangor Daily News in those areas, as the BDN delivers to area businesses with its own transportation fleet.

In fact, the BDN has expanded its transportation network by teaming up with MaineToday Media, owner of the Portland Press Herald, in a cooperative arrangement that distributes copies of the BDN and Morning Sentinel.

“Our Monson Transport truck leaves our Hampden plant around 11:30 p.m. and takes papers to Waterville,” said Jim Hayes, BDN director of operations. “We drop our papers off and then take copies of the Sentinel to Skowhegan and a couple other stops before returning.”

Meanwhile, a Press Herald truck brings copies of the Waterville Morning Sentinel, which are printed in South Portland, to Waterville for distribution, and then takes copies of the Bangor Daily News to a Hudson distribution facility in Gorham on the return trip.

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