The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Local Thrifty Nickel publication closing down


April 26, 2018

CLOVIS — The newspaper stands will be a little bit lighter after this week, as local publication and distribution of the Thrifty Nickel/American Classifieds weekly ceases after decades in eastern New Mexico and west Texas.

Joe Thomas said he and his wife Mearl purchased the American Classifieds building at Seventh and Pile streets as a retirement project about two years ago, but found themselves busy as ever competing with online advertising outlets.

“There's just been a changing atmosphere for the type of publication we do and we have lost some significant regular customers. Although we're not losing money per se, we're not making money,” he told The News. “The primary reason is social media — everything is moving to Facebook and Craigslist, unfortunately.”

The free weekly paper is primarily a local classified advertisement venue, primarily for real estate and car dealerships, he said, with distribution north to Logan, east to Friona and Muleshoe and west to Fort Sumner. It also serves Portales, Tucumcari, Texico, Farwell, Friona, Bovina, Tucumcari, San Jon and Clovis.

It’s part of a national organization, but “pretty well regionalized,” Thomas said, with the outlet in Amarillo ceasing publication recently and the nearest operation now in Lubbock.

The Thrifty Nickel has operated in Clovis for 37 years, Thomas said, and “picked up the American Classifieds venue” about 15 years ago. He said he plans to sell or lease the property and has spoken to some prospective new operators for the publication, but nothing is concrete yet.

In addition to Joe and Mearl Thomas, the business has employed two full-time and one contract employee.

Kim Tipton worked there 24 years, during which time she said she self-taught on sales, graphics, production and delivery, and built relationships with the paper’s clients.

“What am I not going to miss? This is my world, really,” she said. “They’re not just our customers, they’re our friends and family.”

She said a locally owned advertising service provides a personal touch that social media and online retailers can’t match.

“People don’t understand, when you take away from locally owned business you’re taking from yourself,” she said. “I’m pretty sure Amazon isn’t going to sponsor your local sports team.”

Unfortunately, that hasn’t been enough so far. Thomas said he believes there is still something irreplaceable about the print classifieds.

“We like to think so. There's a lot of people that like to have newspaper in hand, or something in hand to read. And there's a lot of people, myself included, who don’t do Facebook or Craigslist,” said the former Clovis city manager. “I think there's still a market out there, but unfortunately we haven’t been able to find it.

“We've enjoyed our tenure with it. We've met a lot of nice people and been of service to the community, but it's time to move on. All things must change.”

Tipton quoted the coach of a local sports team while reflecting on the end of the era. She and her coworker Lydia Garza were sad at the pending closure, but hopeful to “go on to another level.”

“Nothing changes if nothing changes,” Tipton said.


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