Mullen brothers purchase Johnson Publications Inc. ⁠— northeast Colorado and southwest Nebraska newspapers

Dec 14, 2021

After 69 years with the Johnson family, Johnson Publications Inc. has new owners.  Brothers Jesse and Lloyd Mullen doing business as High Plains News North LLC have purchased The Holyoke (Colorado) Enterprise, The Imperial (Nebraska) Republican and The Grant (Nebraska) Tribune-Sentinel.  These weekly newspapers are located in northeast Colorado and southwest Nebraska.  Included in the sale were three office buildings housing the newspapers.

The Johnson children’s father Loral started in 1952 with The Imperial Republican, and Loral and his wife Elna purchased the Imperial, Holyoke and Grant papers in 1968, 1977 and 1977, respectively.  The Johnson name has since been linked to area newspapers.  Loral and Elna’s daughters Brenda Brandt and Lori Pankonin and her husband Russ have nurtured the family’s publishing tradition through November of this year when the Mullen brothers assumed ownership.  Dave Gauger, a media broker with Gauger Media Service Inc. in Raymond, Washington, represented the Johnson family.

The Johnsons are especially pleased to pass their family’s publishing interests to the Mullen brothers who also grew up in a newspaper family.  The Mullens and Johnsons share a strong appreciation for the importance of commitment to community in local journalism.  Jesse and Brother Lloyd said, “We’re honored to be the new caretakers of these three newspapers.” 

Jesse Mullen’s newspaper career started as a newspaper delivery boy at the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal.    The Mullen bothers have fond memories of Lloyd riding in a little red wagon behind his big Brother Jesse while making his rounds delivering newspapers.  Currently Jesse Mullen and his wife Sasha own and operated four newspapers in Montana and Idaho.