Pick ’n Save planning to remove the Shepherd Express from its stores Nov. 5
Are the paper’s progressive politics to blame?
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There’s nothing like the combination of a neighborhood grocery store and a free, alternative weekly newspaper. For years, local shoppers have been able to grab the latest issue of the Shepherd Express as they exit a Roundy’s Pick ’n Save store, a perfect arrangement for fans of both quality produce and that weird “Boris & Doris” column. But according to the Shepherd, beginning Nov. 5, all area Pick ’n Saves will remove the racks for the free alt weekly.
In a piece entitled “Call to Action,” Shepherd publisher Louis Fortis voices his displeasure with the decision, and intimates that the paper’s progressive politics may be to blame:
As many of you know, the Shepherd had been in all of the Pick ’n Save stores until early this April, when the Shepherd ran a cover endorsement of JoAnne Kloppenburg for Supreme Court justice. Within a day of the Shepherd’s distribution of this endorsement throughout the community, Roundy’s contacted the Shepherd Express and told us to immediately remove our newspapers from all five of its Brookfield Pick ’n Save stores. Now Roundy’s is telling the Shepherd to remove our newspapers from all of its Pick ’n Save stores.
A disagreement over politics may seem plausible, but according to Erik Gunn of Milwaukee Magazine, the reason for the decision is a bit more “pedestrian”:
Pressroom Buzz contacted Roundy’s spokeswoman Vivian King and asked about speculation that something about the lefty paper’s content had led to its removal. King responded in an email: “We have made the decision to remove all free publication racks from our stores so that we may better focus on serving our customers’ grocery needs. This is a decision for all stores and all free publications. Not quite sure from where the rumors came that fueled your questions, but this decision has nothing to do with content of any publication.”
So are the Shepherd’s lefty views the culprit, or does Roundy’s simply need more room for shopping carts and Hoverounds in its exits? Or perhaps Roundy’s CEO “Chairman Bob” Mariano is just leery of reading yet another Joel McNally anti-deer-hunting column this fall, or seeing another “Greetings from Hayward!” picture where Art Kumbalek’s column should be. Whatever the reason, it’s a raw deal and a real shame, because we’re The A.V. Club and we told you so.