Out & About Newspaper will soon be available in eight Kroger stores in the Nashville area after a review of the publication by Kroger Company officials.

The announcement comes just over a month after DistribuTech removed Out & About Newspaper from 34 Nashville area Kroger stores and three Harris Teeter stores. The move sparked an outcry from the local and national GLBT community, leading to a “save your receipt’s” campaign by several local community organizations.

“Kroger has now completed the process that is required for all free publications to be distributed at Kroger stores,” said The Kroger Co. in a statement to the media. “Regarding Out & About Newspaper, that process was not followed by the company that Kroger uses to manage this service. As we have done elsewhere, Kroger suspended distribution until the agreed-upon steps were followed. In this case, it resulted in the return of the paper to some stores in the Nashville area.”

Christopher Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project, which led a coalition along with the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG Nashville, Nashville Pride, and the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, said he was pleased with the decision.

“This compromise is a victory for good business, dialogue and cooperation,” Sanders said. “The GLBT community negotiated from a position of strength and that contributed to the solution. We now hope Harris Teeter will do the right thing by returning Out & About Newspaper to its stores.”

Out & About Newspaper had maintained an outdoor box at the Harris Teeter store in Hillsboro Village for the last three years. That box was removed at the request of DistribuTech so the newspaper could pay rental fees to go in the free publication rack inside the store. The publication has not been allowed back in the store in the free publication rack or the outdoor box.

John Wade, president of the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, praised the community for rallying support for the community newspaper.

"The Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce is extremely pleased that Out & About Newspaper has successfully negotiated an acceptable agreement with Kroger to return the paper to local grocery stores,” Wade said. “This important community news source will now be available to more people, in our own neighborhoods, where we shop. The community is to be commended for rallying support for such an important and supportive business as Out & About Newspaper."

Out & About Newspaper has identified eight Kroger stores that are in areas of town that the newspaper has high readership. O&AN publisher Jerry Jones said that while the eight stores are significantly less than the original 34, the newspaper never wanted to be in 34 stores.

“Our contract with DistribuTech required us to purchase stores by the district instead of being able to choose the stores we felt would have the highest pickup rate,” Jones said. “We’re extremely pleased that Kroger could work with DistribuTech to place us in the stores that we have identified in zip codes where our readership is high.”

Jones said the newspaper used its free subscription list to identify zip codes that had 300 subscribers or more. The stores selected fell within that category.

 “We welcome everyone as customers. The free publications in our stores are intended as a convenience and service to customers,” said Marmer. “Nashville is a diverse city, similar to Atlanta, Dallas and other major metropolitan areas. The Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Equality Project, Out & About Newspaper publisher Jerry Jones and others have identified the locations where the paper may be serving local interests and needs.”

Marmer said the free special interest publications are offered in different areas of the country as a way of serving local interests.

“Having free special interest publications, for example for seniors, families with young children or the GLBT community, is a way of serving local interests,” Marmer explained. 

Kroger Stores that will carry O&AN (start date to be announced):

800 Monroe St.
Nashville, Tn. 37203

2615 Franklin Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37204

2131 Abbott Martin Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37215

711 Gallatin Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37206

3410 Gallatin Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37216

4560 Harding Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37205

3955 Nolensville Rd.
Nashville, Tn. 37211

5319 Mt. View Road
Nashville, TN 37013

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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