North Georgia News and West Printing move to new building in Blairsville, Georgia
North Georgia News and West Printing Company recently moved to a new building. Located in the same block of property as the old location, the new building has 6,500 square feet of space.
Owned and operated by Kenneth and Liz West, both businesses are a hub of constant activity. As legal organ of Union County (where all legal notices and governmental listings are posted) and with a circulation of over 10,000, the paper must hit the stands every week. There are people coming and going all the time. Reporters, typesetters, printers, other staff members, clients, advertisers, delivery men, and many others think of the North Georgia News Office as "the heartbeat of the area."
While continuing the busy day-to-day operations, Kenneth and Liz have managed the extra task of moving heavy equipment, furniture, computer systems, telephones, supplies, files, and employees. Kenneth West says, "You can't stop when you're working with a deadline. We don't have time to close up shop. I want to thank everyone here for working extra hard to get everything done." Liz adds, "We also want to thank the public and all of our customers for putting up with the mess. Things should run a lot smoother now."
The new offices and workspaces are spacious and modern. First thing visitors notice is the tastefully decorated reception area. Office manager Gail Gilbert says, "We have a lot more space with room to grow."
Norman Cooper is settling in with a new desk and furniture. He looks right at home with his Braves baseball clock on the wall and photography equipment lying around. Cooper says, "I have a good view of Cleveland Street . It's a change for the better."
The old brick house was bursting at the seams. As Union County became more populated, the paper and printing company grew, too.
When North Georgia News was first established in 1909, the office was located across the street where Rest Haven Florist is now. John Prescott Davenport was editor for 25 years and sold to Ira Butt sometime around 1932. When owner Ira Butt retired in the early 50's, he sold the paper, building and all, to Harold and Wanda West.
Many editions of the newspaper were burned by Butt during his last week as owner. Stacks of archived papers were destroyed before the new owners were able to convince him that they should be saved for future generations. Mr. Butt is reported to have said, "I figured they would be in the way. Who would want to read old news?"
The first move for North Georgia News was during the 60's after a heavy rain flooded the basement. The property across the street was for sale and the West's bought it. Harold West ran the North Georgia News from that new office for many years until his death in 1976.
After losing Harold, Wanda convinced her son to leave his position at the Cherokee Tribune in North Carolina and come onboard at North Georgia News in Blairsvile. Kenneth West has been at the helm ever since.
The West's also own the Towns County Herald located in Hiawassee, Georgia. Counting all three businesses, Kenneth and Liz employ over 20 people. "Liz says, "Everyone on the staff is like family. They know they can come to us with any problem and we will do what we can to help."
Kenneth adds, "The new building is designed to accommodate the paper and printing company. We managed OK in the old place but it was time for more space."
The West's are good people to work for. They are honest folks with big hearts. Blairsville, Georgia citizens are blessed to have them as a part of the community.
Currently there are no plans for an official open-house. All friends and business acquaintances are invited to drop in anytime during normal business hours.