Gilroy (CA) Dispatch Sold to Mainstreet Media GrouBack to News

GILROY, CA, January 30, 2004 – Gilroy¹s oldest, continuous business, The Gilroy Dispatch, has new owners, and so do nine other California publications, including The Dispatch¹s sister newspapers, the Hollister Free Lance and the Morgan Hill Times.

Anthony Allegretti and Stephen Staloch, partners and principals in Mainstreet Media Group, today announced their purchase of six newspapers, two direct-mail publications, an alternative weekly, a magazine, and a commercial printing company, all of which used to be a part of Pacific-Sierra Publishing.

Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, a newspaper merger-and-acquisition firm located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, represented Pacific Sierra Publishing, in the transaction.

The new media company will be headquartered in Gilroy. “We’re about preserving the voice of local news — that’s our franchise,” Allegretti said. “We’re not interested in competing with the larger metro papers.”

Allegretti and Staloch formed Mainstreet Media Group to purchase the various media enterprises after the McClatchy Company, which publishes the Sacramento, Modesto, and Fresno Bees, purchased several Pacific-Sierra Publishing newspapers in the Central Valley last month. Allegretti is the former president and chief executive officer of Pacific-Sierra Publishing. He will retain those titles with Mainstreet Media. Staloch will be the senior vice president and chief operating officer for Mainstreet Media and serve as publisher of The Dispatch, the Free Lance, and Morgan Hill Times. He was formerly the senior vice president for Pacific-Sierra and the publisher of the Merced Sun-Star, which was sold to McClatchy.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and the changes that will be coming,” Staloch said. “We both believe a newspaper’s success begins with the product and we will be working very hard to take these publications to the next level.”.

For the three local South Valley papers, Allegretti and Staloch said product improvements will be made in the near future. More daily sections and a design facelift for the Gilroy Dispatch and its sister publications are likely changes. Readers will be invited to be part of that process, they said. Although the two men have big plans for their new acquisitions, Allegretti and Staloch this week repeatedly stressed a commitment to delivering local news.

“There will be more feet on the street,” Allegretti said, referencing plans to hire additional reporters and sales staff members to help expand and improve the local daily newspaper which has operated in Gilroy since 1868. The new publishers also plan on being active members of the Gilroy and South Valley community.

“We plan on moving here soon,” Staloch said. “We want this paper to be truly locally owned.”

“When you’re local, you care more. Otherwise you’re just passing through,” Allegretti said. Both Allegretti and Staloch currently live in Merced.

The selling of Pacific-Sierra Publishing will mean redefining several staff positions, but of the 180 workers with the company, only six will not be retained under Mainstreet Media Group, Allegretti and Staloch said. For advertising customers, Staloch said the staff will be encouraged to be on the street meeting with clients and developing new ad ideas.

“Having fresh and creative ideas that bring customers to a place of business is paramount,” Staloch said. Staloch emphasized that the newspapers have been solid local products, but that there is always room to improve.

Allegretti has worked in the newspaper business since his childhood. His parents were newspaper owners in Watseka, Illinois. “I’ve been gainfully employed in the newspaper business since my first carrier job at the age of seven,” Allegretti said. Allegretti has four children with his wife of 38 years, Donna. He is the proud grandfather of three.

Staloch has been married to his wife Sheri for 30 years. They have three grown children, one of whom is a sports reporter at the Merced Sun-Star.

Mainstreet Media Group is not the first newspaper partnership for Allegretti and Staloch. In 1991 they operated Independent Media Group, comprised of 44 publications across Michigan, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. They sold the operation in 2000 and have been looking for a new group of newspapers ever since, they said. Allegretti and Staloch said they plan to hold on to Mainstreet Media Group permanently and hope to purchase more papers in California and potentially outside the state in the future.

For additional information contact Philip W. Murray at Dirks, Van Essen & Murray, phone: 505/820-2700 or fax: 505-820-2900.