GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Rhinoceros Times is going out of business after 20 years.
"It is with a great deal of sadness that I announce that the April 28 edition of The Rhinoceros Times now on the stands is the last," John Hammer posted on The Rhino Times website on Tuesday.
Employees were notified this morning and Hammer confirmed the news to FOX8 on Tuesday.
"I'd like to thank all of our readers for making a point of picking up The Rhino Times for the past 21 years and I wish we could continue to provide you with the news, opinion and humor every week that you have come to expect, but we have simply run out of money. Like a lot of small businesses, we took a huge hit in 2008, and although we have done everything we could think of, we simply can no longer pay our bills."
The free weekly conservative news and opinion newspaper was founded in 1991.
The paper is owned by brothers John and William Hammer and is edited by John Hammer. William also confirmed the news on Facebook.
"Through The Rhinoceros Times, my brother, John Hammer has kept people of Guilford County informed and entertained for over 20 years. The many sleepless nights and tireless work that it required of him to bring the news to us is impossible for me to accurately convey."
"John through The Rhino has broken many incredible stories and shined a bright, satirical and often irreverent light in corners that some of our elective officials and bureaucrats had hoped to keep dark and always without fail, he called it as he saw it. He attracted World Class writers to the paper such as, Orson Scott Card, Jerry Blesdsoe and staff writers such as the hilarious Scott Yost and the reliable Paul Clark and gave them lot's of room to wow us with their talent. It was my honor to have been a part of such a refreshing truth-telling paper for many years."
"It is a sad day for Guilford County knowing that the paper which did such a wonderful job of keeping us informed will no longer be able to continue in that crucial role. Thank you John Hammer. Goodbye Rhino."
Here's the full text of John Hammer's note titled "Rhino says goodbye" on The Rhino Times website:
It is with a great deal of sadness that I announce that the April 28 edition of The Rhinoceros Times now on the stands is the last.
I'd like to thank all of our readers for making a point of picking up The Rhino Times for the past 21 years and I wish we could continue to provide you with the news, opinion and humor every week that you have come to expect, but we have simply run out of money. Like a lot of small businesses, we took a huge hit in 2008, and although we have done everything we could think of, we simply can no longer pay our bills.
Newspapers got hit with the double whammy of the recession and increasing competition from the internet, and we join a long list of newspapers that have closed their doors.
I would especially like to thank our advertisers, some of whom have been advertising with us for over a decade. We appreciate their support. They are the ones who have been footing the bill for us to bring you The Rhino every week.
And I'd like to thank our employees.
I can't say enough good things about our art director, Anthony Council, who we hired while he was a still a student at NC A&T, and 16 years later he is still running the show. Anthony is an extremely talented graphic artist, but he has a skill that is rare for talented artists ¬– he is incredibly well organized. And when we were on a tight production schedule, which was every week, Anthony always knew exactly where we were and what needed to be done. Anthony is one of those people who has so many gifts he can do anything, but I really think with another couple of years I was going to find something that Anthony couldn't do.
County Editor Scott Yost knows more about what is going on in Guilford County government than anyone. His coverage has been remarkable. He has consistently been first with the news about Guilford County. His columns should have won far more awards that they did and he has made a lot of young women famous for a week in Scott's Night Out.
Paul Clark has gotten more information out of the schools than I thought possible. He is so tenacious that even the schools give in. It's an incredible accomplishment and he does that and covers High Point.
Thanks to Orson Scott Card, who after 9/11 decided that he had some things he wanted to say to the people of Greensboro, and for over 12 years provided a column every week. Card is internationally famous and is about to become much more famous when Ender's Game the movie is released later this year. He can and does write for anyone he wants, but he chose to write for his hometown newspaper every week, for which we are eternally grateful.
Jerry Bledsoe got involved with The Rhino and almost never escaped. He started to write a four- to eight-part series on the Greensboro Police Department, and 92 parts later he finally broke free, but not entirely because we were sued so he had to keep coming back for court. We won every single time we went to court, thanks to our attorney Seth Cohen, who we also need to thank.
Melissa Smith, who has been our inside sales person for years, has managed to handle the changing nature of classified ads with remarkable agility. We have far more classifieds than a newspaper our size should.
Johnny Smith (no relation) is on his second go round with The Rhino and stepped in to take over the real estate section. Johnny has won just about every sales contest we ever had at The Rhino.
We have some newer employees who were coming along well, Alex Jakubsen covering the city, and my nephew Will Hammer and Marianne Rowe in sales.
Geoff Brooks, our cartoonist, is not an employee, technically, but he has been working with us longer than anyone. Having had our own cartoonist has been an invaluable addition to the newspaper every week.
Sandy Groover is also not an employee, but someone who has contributed photographs from events all over town.
And although we can't thank all of our former employees because the list would be too long, we would like to thank Erika Sloan, who also served two tours at The Rhino. This second time around she was technically our office manager but did far more and kept us in line as much as that was possible.
Also my brother Willy Hammer, who was the publisher for 17 years and took The Rhino from 24 pages to 132 pages before the economy went south.
Most of all I'd like to thank my wife, Elaine, the Muse. She has put up with a husband who for 21 years spent Tuesday nights at the office and Wednesdays as a demanding editor trying to meet the print deadline. She has also done every job at the paper. She started off in sales and then became the copy editor, the real estate editor, the managing editor and lately had taken on the mantel of office manager. Elaine has almost always been behind the scenes doing whatever needed to be done and doing it well. We would have been out of business years ago if we hadn't had access to the many talents of Elaine, not the least of which was handling telephone calls from angry readers. Sometimes they were angry with us and sometimes just angry.
We've had a really good run and are incredibly thankful for all the kindness our readers have shown us.
Not many people knew about this, but the few that had been told responded, "Is there anything I can do?" The answer is yes. The Rhinoceros Times is hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. We need money to pay our creditors. I guarantee all the money raised will be used to pay debts. If you have been reading The Rhino from the beginning, that's 21 years of free newspapers. We ask you to consider paying $1 for each of those years and sending us a check for $21 dollars. Of course, if you are moved to donate more, no amount is too large, and if you can't afford $21 but want to send something, no amount is too small. Nickels, dimes and quarters will be graciously accepted. But we thought one dollar a year was not asking too much.
This would be a donation. It is not tax deductible and you won't receive anything of value for it. But right now we are deep in a financial hole and every bit helps. If you would like to send a donation please send it to The Rhino Times, PO Box 9421, Greensboro, NC 27429. Thank you in advance.
And we'd like to add that The Rhino Times will continue to have a web presence for as long as possible.
I'd also like to thank the loyal beepers. Some of you have been calling The Rhino Times Beep line almost every week for two decades. We hope that we have provided a way for you to blow off some steam and maybe prevented a heart attack or stroke along the way.
All the people who have contributed to the content of the paper with letters to the editor, whether signed or anonymous, we appreciate them all and enjoyed being able to provide an outlet for those who had something to say, but because of their jobs had to do it anonymously.
Thanks again to the community for its support over the past 21 years.