Community Impact on song with Nashville acquisition

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Community Impact Newspaper's march into the US country music capital of Nashville has accelerated with the acquisition of recent start-up Rover.

CI has announced that its owners, John and Jennifer Garrett have come to terms with American Hometown Publishing to acquire the Rover brand and operations in the city.

Rover first appeared in the Green Hills and Belle Meade areas last May, and had been following Community Impact's own trajectory to become a 'go-to' source of local news.

Community Impact has announced plans for the city which include a first edition of the hyperlocal publication in Franklin and Brentwood in March.

John Garrett says the addition of the Rover staff and readership will help build momentum in a metro area they would like to grow with.

"The Rover team will join publisher Patty McHugh and the rest of the Nashville metro team in the new CI office in Cool Springs."

Garrett says working with American Hometown Publishing chief executive Brad Dennison on the purchase was "one of my favourite professional moments".

"We both agreed that our commitment to our people, our readers and our customers made for a unique opportunity to bring these two brands together, and together our teams would better serve the residents of Nashville and surrounding areas."

"I'm so proud of the Rover team and what we've accomplished in Belle Meade and Green Hills this past year," said Brad Dennison, chief executive of American Hometown Publishing. " Rover has become a household name in these communities. Under John's great leadership, and combined with the vast CI resources and know-how, this will be one of the biggest things to happen in Nashville media in years."

Based in Pflugerville, Texas, and a recent startup itself, Community Impact has bucked a trend in newspaper publishing with a focus on local information since its launch in 2005, and new customised offices and printing plant anchored on one of the world's first Goss Magnum Compact presses - designed to deliver quick edition changes - which it opened in 2016.

Last September, with 25 Texas editions established, the Garretts launched their first venture outside the state with an edition in Gilbert, Arizona. Further expansion in Houston, Texas, has also been announced.

Pictured: Rover's Green Hills and Belle Meade website and (right) Community Impact's first print edition in Arizona last September

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