Southern Kitchen Announces Sale to GateHouse Media
As of July 2, Southern Kitchen, the Atlanta-based Southern food and lifestyle brand, has been acquired by GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the country.
The core Southern Kitchen team will remain in place throughout the transition and beyond; there will be no changes to its day-to-day operating procedures.
This acquisition marks a turning point for Southern Kitchen, which was launched by Cox Media Group (CMG) in 2017. Its new owner, GateHouse, is focused on growing the content and e-commerce concept to drive new revenue opportunities.
“We’re pleased to announce another acquisition with Cox Media Group,” said Kirk Davis, CEO of GateHouse Media. “Southern Kitchen is a natural addition to our portfolio. It enhances the outstanding food and entertainment coverage featured in our local properties and will contribute to our growing food events business. We also see Southern Kitchen as a great platform for further developing our ecommerce capabilities.”
In spring 2018, CMG made the decision to divest in Southern Kitchen, as well as its other Innovation Verticals. This decision was not based on the performance of the Verticals; rather it was the result of a realignment of the company’s priorities to focus on local markets and CMG’s core media businesses — newspapers, television and radio. Ultimately, Southern Kitchen and CMG decided that GateHouse would be the best steward to drive Southern Kitchen into the future.
"I'm very appreciative of the opportunity to have started the company within CMG, and I'm really looking forward to working with GateHouse to expand our ever-growing community of nearly 1 million fans," said Derick Jaros, General Manager of Southern Kitchen.
Under its new ownership, Southern Kitchen will continue to innovate in the e-commerce and content space, and plans to explore additional revenue streams through events, classes and experiential retail. This alternative, 360-degree style of business will, Southern Kitchen believes, change the game for digital audiences, driving customer satisfaction, brand awareness and, ultimately, revenue.
With its strong focus on events and digital start-up ventures, such as UpCurve, TapOnItDeals and The Center for News & Design, GateHouse will be particularly well-suited to help grow this portion of the business. In addition, the company’s 565 local markets, dozens of which are in the South, will gain access to Southern Kitchen’s popular cooking content, recipes and videos. Southern Kitchen is excited for the possibilities of partnering with and learning from these well-loved newspapers across the South and the rest of the country.
The leadership teams and both Southern Kitchen and GateHouse are thrilled for what this new future brings.
About Southern Kitchen
Launched in 2017, Southern Kitchen’s digital publishing and e-commerce platform delivers the best content and products related to eating, drinking and entertaining with a Southern flair. In the short time since launch, Southern Kitchen has built a loyal audience, attracting large advertisers and driving traffic to a successful online shop. Its integrated and seamless content and e-commerce platform has reached 2 million readers in less than a year.
About GateHouse Media
GateHouse Media is one of the largest publishers of locally-based media in the United States. The company’s mission is to deliver high quality and trusted journalism, products and services that enrich the communities it serves — its readers, commercial partners, employees and investors. As of April 2018, GateHouse publishes 144 daily newspapers, 341 community publications and more than 569 local market websites that reach more than 23 million people each week. It has publications in 38 states and 565 markets. GateHouse also operates industry-leading services for other businesses and media companies. These services include UpCurve, which provides marketing, digital solutions and cloud services to small and mid-sized businesses, and the Center for News & Design, which serves 91 daily newspapers, including 11 daily commercial partners, and 197 weekly newspapers. Its GateHouse Live division is an industry leader in event production and execution from coast to coast.
Why Content and Commerce
The benefits of blending content and commerce lie not only in driving readers to become customers, but also in delivering a more personal and enriched shopping experience to potential customers. At integrated sites like Southern Kitchen, the editorial team can work in tandem with the merchandising team to create brand stories and product detail pages, with rich content about each product, including personal narratives from the staff about what they love about particular products. These white glove touches to products are intended to create an emotional connection with customers — a missing component from the Amazon shopping experience.
The old adage, “if you don’t change, you die” is truer in today’s landscape than ever. In order to be successful, companies need to think of themselves beyond traditional models. No longer are successful companies “just digital” or “just retail,” or “just a publisher.” Successful companies are integrated brands with many touchpoints, delivering quality content, services, products and experiences to customers in meaningful and relevant ways.