by Chris Davis
The North Shelby Times, a small, privately-owned weekly newspaper headquartered on North Watkins Street quietly ceased publication in June, after 44 years in business. Frank Holland, the paper's founder and editor, blamed the closure on a combination of bad luck and a bad economy. The 82-year-old publisher says that the paper skipped one week of publication when a recent windstorm knocked out his building's electricity, then skipped a second week due to a staff medical emergency, and he figured that might be a signal that it was time to close up shop.
“We weren't making any money,” Holland explains. “Nothing's making any money right now.” Holland, an entrepreneur who has dabbled in everything from beauty salons to insurance, says he's lost thousands in the real estate crash and couldn't afford to keep putting money into a publication that wasn't bringing in revenue.
“I actually had some people call saying they were interested in buying the paper, but I never took them seriously,” Holland says. “Why would anybody want to by a business that's not making money.”
The North Shelby Times was originally founded as a means of promoting Holland's 20 salons and 7 Jett Barber Colleges. Its peak circulation was 40,000. Holland's business ventures have been scrutinized by the media in recent years after a deadly fire destroyed one of his low cost rental properties.
“I wrote articles I wanted to write,” says Holland, whose final political column praised Governor Bredesen for vetoing the guns in bars legislation. “I guess I made some people mad, made a lot of enemies,” he jokes unapologetically.
The North Shelby Times website continues to function as a news aggregator, though none of the new content is original to the publication. The last full issue online is dated June 10th.