BIRMINGHAM – The Anniston Star and its parent company, Consolidated Publishing Co., was honored today by the Alabama Retail Association as an Alabama Centennial Retailer, a retailer with 100 or more years in business in Alabama.
“For businesses to survive despite the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said ARA President Rick Brown. “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring contributions The Anniston Star and Consolidated Publishing Co. have made to the communities they serve.”
In 1883, Dr. T.W. Ayers founded the Anniston Hot Blast. Henry Grady, part owner of the Atlanta Constitution at the time, is credited with naming the Hot Blast. Grady, in Anniston for a visit, noted the sparks shooting out from the town’s foundry and suggested that “Hot Blast” would make an appropriate name.
In 1911, Harry Mell Ayers and Thomas E. Kilby, who would later become Alabama’s governor, bought the morning daily newspaper. A year later, James B. Lloyd, owner of the Anniston Evening Star, the local afternoon paper, sold it to Ayers and Kilby.
The merged papers became The Anniston Evening Star in 1912 and began operating as Consolidated Publishing Co. Eventually, the name of the seven-day-a-week newspaper was shortened to The Anniston Star. In October, The Anniston Star will discontinue its Monday print edition and place more emphasis on its digital content.
Col. Harry Ayers was editor and publisher until his death in 1964, when Adel Y. Ayers served as chairman of the board, a position she held until her death in 1977. Col. Ayers’ son, H. Brandt Ayers, currently serves as chairman of the board and publisher.
“Whether the paper is delivered on paper or by pixels, human nature is a constant: It is centripetal force, constantly drawing us to a center. Call it a town square or the back porch. Ya’ll come!,” Brandt Ayers wrote in a June 2010 column titled “50 Years in Journalism.”
Consolidated Publishing Co. owns eight newspapers. Besides The Anniston Star, it publishes The Daily Home, The Jacksonville News, The Cleburne News, The St. Clair Times, The Piedmont Journal and The Oxford Sun.
The Alabama Retail Association presents awards annually to Centennial Retailers. To notify ARA of a retail business that has been in operation for 100 years or more, please contact Nancy Dennis at (800) 239-5423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.