High Country Press Publications is excited to announce that High Country Press Publications, including High Country Press, High Country Magazine, High Country Visitor Guide, High Country Faith Magazine, High South Weddings, and High Country Home Magazine, has been acquired by Sam Garrett. Effective January 1, 2022, Garrett serves as the publisher for all operations and Founder Ken Ketchie will continue as editor.
Garrett is no stranger to the High Country. He has served as the executive director at Casting Bread food pantry in Blowing Rock since April 2019. His experience in journalism, media, and community involvement includes television, radio, and service in Denver, Memphis, and around the country since the early 1990s. When asked what drew him to print publications, Garrett said, “I love storytelling. It is an art form just like a song, sculpture, or painting. Everyone has a story that can impact others.”
Garrett arrived in Blowing Rock in 2019, not knowing what to expect. “I fell in love with the High Country immediately. Hiking, backpacking, and being in or near water is the best way to spend a day when not working.” Garrett continued, “I met Ken when he was writing a story about Casting Bread. It was obvious to me that High Country Press was unique as the only local newspaper unapologetically and completely focused on the High Country, our community, and sharing great stories. I am honored to work with Ken and to call him a friend. He is a legend.”
Garrett’s assignment of legend status to Ketchie is more than a pleasantry. Ketchie founded The Mountain Times in 1978 at the age of 22 and grew it to be the biggest and best newspaper in the High Country at that time. Three years after selling his first newspaper, Ketchie launched High Country Press Publications on May 5, 2005 and has been going strong ever since. As Ketchie began to contemplate retirement, he questioned what the next chapter would be for the publications so many people enjoy.
“Sam and I were having lunch last fall – which had become tradition. I was having a bad day and complained about working too much when Sam piped up and asked if I wanted to sell the company,” Ketchie recounted. Although taken aback, he began to consider saying yes. “It was a pleasant surprise to find Sam interested in buying High Country Press Publications. I had become a fan of his through our lunches. His work with Casting Bread was impressive, as was his background with nonprofits, and his networking in the High Country. He cares about his surroundings and dedicates his energy to getting things done,” Ketchie said.
What is next for High Country Press Publications? Garrett is enthusiastic about continuing the legacy established by Ketchie. “High Country Press Publications will remain committed to sharing stories from all around the High Country with a focus on integrity, curiosity, and wonder.”