Times begins expansion project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Earlier this week, contractors began a multi-phase expansion project at The Demopolis Times office, marking the continued growth of the company.

More than two decades ago, the office space adjoined to the west side of The Times housed Colony Office Products, then owned by Dan Wilson and Jim McKay. Wilson later purchased the company and moved to another location. In the years following, the building has been the home of a ballet studio and an Alabama Department of Transportation field office.

While The Times has always owned the office space, there has never been a need to expand into the space. With the continued growth of the business, however, that has now changed.

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“There’s nothing better, as a manager, than to be part of growth,” said Jonathan McElvy, publisher and president of The Times. “When that happens, it means the economy has stabilized. More importantly, though, it’s a strong indication that we’ve got a hard-working and intelligent group of people in our office.”

The physical expansion of The Times, owned by Tuscaloosa-based Boone Newspapers Inc., began with construction of an advertising conference room and a new office for the advertising director. In all, the expanded office space will include 12 new work stations.

With state-of-the-art computer networking and the installation of a new phone line and 12 new phones, The Times has plans of continued growth.

“When I moved to Demopolis almost two years ago, we had six full-time employees and two newspaper carriers. Today, we have 13 full-time employees, another one starting next week, and we have five newspaper carriers,” McElvy said. “Sometimes, I come to work in the morning and wonder when we’re going to add a second story.”

Last October, Boone Publication Inc. (the incorporated named of The Times) purchased three new publications — the Greene/Hale, Clarke and Wilcox County Shoppers Guides. Combined with the Marengo County Shoppers Guide, BPI has a weekly circulation of nearly 50,000, including The Times.

“It’s comforting, both for me and the staff here, to know that we work for a company that cares about Demopolis and West Alabama,” McElvy said. “If you take a look at what has happened in just the past seven months, it’s incredible to watch the growth and investment being made in this community by our company. It’s a sign that we’re doing a decent job, and it’s a clear indication that we’re investing in the future of this entire region.”

Expanding into the adjacent office isn’t the only work being done around The Times, either. Within the next two weeks, all the tile and carpet in the building will be replaced and the walls will get a new coat of paint. Already, trees growing over the building have been removed, and work on the building’s roof will continue through the week.

“If we can figure out a way to keep everyone in the office sane through the hammering and paint fumes, we’re going to enjoy working in an office that feels brand new,” McElvy said.

Once renovation of the building is complete, The Times will bring back something readers will soon appreciate.

“Before I accepted this position, our company made a decision to move our classified advertising department to a call center in Selma,” McElvy said. “There are some newspapers all over the country that use call centers. However, we want to bring everything back to Demopolis, and we’re going to do the same with classifieds.”

Based on completion of construction work in the building, McElvy said the classified department likely would move back to Demopolis in early August.