In 1994, the renaissance of downtown Asheville was still in startup mode. Jeff Fobes and his family were recent arrivals to the mountains. Vacant storefronts were plentiful, and no one had to circle the block to find a place to park their vehicle.
Who would have envisioned that starting from a meager beginning of only 24 pages that Mountain Xpress would be around in 2014? Not only is the weekly still around, it has grown in number of pages, in-depth stories and local news, has more advertising than its local rival, and is still free for the taking each Wednesday. With so much media available, publishing a successful newspaper in today’s environment is a difficult task. But Jeff and his staff consistently issue a quality edition every week.
Twenty years later, in 2014, the downtown storefronts are filled, and it’s hard to find a place to park even on a Sunday afternoon. However, from that first issue with the crazy rabbit on the cover page to this very day, it’s hard to pass the newsstand on Wednesday without stopping to pick up the current issue. Congratulations Mountain Xpress for 20 years of outstanding success! — Russ Martin
Russ Martin served on Asheville City Council from 1987 to ’89, and as mayor for two terms (1993 to ’97). He currently volunteers with the Kiwanis Club and the Aktion Club, which he and his wife started as a service club for adults living with disabilities.