The Valley Breeze is changing hands

The Valley Breeze is changing hands

LINCOLN – There will be new ownership at The Valley Breeze, but readers likely won’t notice any change. Breeze Publications Inc., founded in 1996 by Publisher Thomas V. Ward, of Cumberland, and Deputy Publisher James E. Quinn, of Lakeville, Mass., has been sold to Whip It Media, of Sterling, Virginia.

Both Ward and Quinn will remain with the paper for the foreseeable future, with Ward continuing his weekly opinion column and Quinn remaining as production manager and graphic artist. No other personnel changes are anticipated.

The sale does not include the newspaper’s Lincoln office, owned by Ward and Quinn.

“I am thrilled to be handing off the baton of leadership to Richard Whippen, CEO, who understands the importance of a strong local news voice. More importantly, he will be expanding The Breeze’s efforts in digital news gathering, sharing, and advertising, offering a new level of service to our advertisers and readers,” said Ward.

“Jamie (Quinn) and I want to be sure our legacy of serving the community with a high-quality newspaper continues,” said Ward, “and we expect it will with Richard and his team at Whip It Media.

“I’m extremely honored that Tom and Jamie decided that our organization was the best aligned with The Valley Breeze’s focus on community journalism,” said Whippen. “The Valley Breeze has played an extremely critical role in the communities it serves for over 20 years. We look forward to continuing to build upon the great print and digital products they’ve provided their readers and customers,” Whippen added.

Said Quinn: "We are known for our community roots and dedication to quality, and I attribute that to the people I work with every day, from reporting to design to customer support. Our employees make us who we are, and I look forward to being able to continue working with them during this next chapter.”

“I’m delighted that I’ve been asked to continue on with the new owners and help transition The Breeze and Observer to even greater levels of success,” said Ward. “With 58,000-plus papers delivered each week, there is simply no stronger print voice in northern Rhode Island.”

The Valley Breeze was born in Ward’s home on Pound Road, Cumberland in March 1996. Ward and Quinn were joined by Marcia Green, of Cumberland, who served as editor. Barbara Phinney was bookkeeper. In its first week, 10,000 free 20-page newspapers were delivered in Cumberland and Lincoln. The Breeze quickly grew in size and popularity. In 1999, a second edition was added to serve Woonsocket, North Smithfield, and a bit later, Blackstone, Mass.

In January 2006, Breeze Publications purchased the 50-year-old Observer newspaper in Smithfield, and the North Star of North Providence, from Kimball Burgess of Greenville. Both soon became free Breeze newspapers. Finally, in 2009, a fifth edition was added in Pawtucket.

The Valley Breeze had several homes as it grew during its 23 years, most on Mendon Road in Cumberland. It moved to its current Lincoln location at 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite 204, in 2011, where it will remain.

Comments

It has long been with great anticipation that I, as I am sure do many others in the Breeze and Observer Market, look forward to every week's issue of the Breeze and its honest reporting of what is taking place in our hometowns.

All the best to the new owners...you have very big shoes to fill.

Lastly, to Tom Ward...what else can be said other then: THANK YOU!!

And when it finally arrives, enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Oh, and please consider continuing-on with your weekly Commentary Column!

Tom L.

I hope that the new ownership continues the Breeze tradition of being the best place for local news in RI.

Hello, that's the plan. Thank you for reading.

What would locals have done without this wonderful resource? Thank you, Mr. Ward, for your thoughtful words these many years. You set the tone of the Valley Breeze. May it continue to do justice to you and to all its readership.

There was great anticipation when launched, and you did not disappoint. Although I moved to CA in 2003, I still read it online every week. Keeps me updated on hometown news, so thank you for 23 years of great reporting! BTW, do you still do a print edition?

And yes! We still have a huge print distribution.