Who would’ve guessed that the purchase of three struggling, debt-ridden newspapers would evolve into something big… really big?
NPC co-founders Charlotte and Barney Barnhart may not have completely realized this when they purchased News Printing Company in 1954, but they were setting the foundation for one of the community’s most stable organizations.
NPC’s history and culture is just one of many stories featured in Our Town: The Cove (https://wpsu.psu.edu/tv/programs/ourtown/the-cove/), produced by WPSU Penn State, that highlights individuals, organizations and achievements in the Morrisons Cove community in the Roaring Spring/Martinsburg area of central Pennsylvania. The program originally aired May 18, 2017.
The Barnharts moved from Danville, Pennsylvania to Roaring Spring in the mid-1950s to take over three local newspapers — The Hollidaysburg Register, The Cove News and The Williamsburg Journal. Many local businessmen considered this purchase “a bad investment” since the company was nearly bankrupt and circulation was at an all-time low, but Barney was convinced that “Blair County was the right place for him.”
Acting as journalist, photographer, editor and publisher — he even sold advertising for a short time — Barney’s first issue of a revamped Hollidaysburg Register hit newsstands in 1955.
In 1962, one of the papers was dropped and the other two were merged to form the Blair Press. Barney became one of the most “rambunctious and controversial” editors in the area. He had a talent and passion for investigative reporting, and as a result exposed hard truths about various public figures, making the Blair Press one of the most-read newspapers in the area.
After a successful run in the newspaper business, the company’s strategic direction shifted as the emergence of radio and TV began to cripple local newspaper advertising opportunities. Focus shifted from the newspaper business to government and commercial printing, marking NPC’s first experience of adapting to a changing marketplace.
Mark Barnhart, the son of Charlotte and Barney Barnhart, purchased News Printing Company from his parents in 1987 and renamed it NPC, Inc. in 2001. Through Mark’s leadership as owner and CEO, the company has transformed from a small traditional printing company to a broader print, information and digital solutions provider.
NPC continues to thrive as a family-owned business that has grown — from a handful of employees working in a small building on East Main Street in Roaring Spring in the 1950s — to a successful organization with nearly 500 employees operating in four facilities across Blair County.
Staying true to the company’s roots, around 40 percent of the workforce lives in the Morrisons Cove community. NPC firmly believes in taking care of the people who take care of the company. And those same employees are the ones who take care of our customers, and invest their time and resources to support our community, which remains an integral part of the NPC culture.
This is 91st production in the Our Town community spotlight series produced by WPSU Penn State. The Our Town series has been produced since 1996. Charlotte’s Trove restaurant and boutique, owned and operated by Charlene Dodson (Barnhart), daughter of Charlotte and Barney Barnhart, is also featured in the production. NPC is one of the program sponsors.