North Carolina native and veteran newspaper executive Wesley Grooms has been chosen to lead The Manchester Times in the role of publisher. He starts next week.
“I am excited about Manchester and Middle Tennessee,” Grooms said. “The community and the area have a lot to offer, from outdoor recreation to thriving businesses, so it’s exciting to be coming on board.”
Lakeway Publishers Regional Vice President Brian Blackley said his selection of Grooms was made to fit the needs of the market.
“Manchester is a wonderful county seat city that has a solid mix of traditional values and suburban growth triggered by the world’s discovery of Middle Tennessee,” Blackley said. “I can’t think of anyone who can understand that and appreciate it more than Wes.” Blackley noted his relationship with Grooms started more than 20 years ago when the two met while working in South Alabama.
“I’ve known Wes for a long time, having worked alongside him in the past, and it’s a wonderful thing to be working with him again and to see our paths come full circle together,” he said.
Grooms said he’s excited about the opportunity.
“I am very thankful to be selected to be a part of a fantastic family operated newspaper company like Lakeway. I am excited to be working with Brian once again. He and I did great things in Alabama together and I have infinite expectations of what we can achieve together in Middle Tennessee.”
Grooms is also excited about the possibilities the area offers from a quality of life perspective.
“Middle Tennessee is one of the most beautiful places in the country and its rich recreational environment will greatly enrich my hobbies and interests. I look forward to being here for a long time.”
As for his plans for the newspaper, Grooms said he wants to focus on building on the phenomenal web traffic and the strength of both the print and digital versions of The Manchester Times.
“For a newspaper like The Times to receive 300,000 page views per month is incredible,” he said. “Those are numbers you don’t see in cities twice the size of Manchester and it’s a testament to the strong digital presence the staff there has established. We want to get that message out to our customers and grow our digital footprint while continuing to produce great, meaningful, well-read content.”
A father to a grown daughter, Grooms received his bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration from Western Carolina University before embarking on his newspaper career. He has served as advertising director, general manager and publisher of newspapers in Keokuk, Iowa, Andalusia, Ala., Newton, N.C., Asheville, N.C., and most recently, Seneca, S.C.
A breeder of Llewellin setters of the English setter bloodline, Grooms enjoys raising and training dogs, upland bird hunting and fishing.