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Made in Tennessee- Milan Mirror Exchange


The Milan Mirror Exchange has been a family business in Milan for almost 60 years.

“In 1966, my mom and dad they founded the Milan mirror," said Victory Parkins, "There was a competitor in town that he actually worked for called the Milan exchange.”

About 5 years later, Bob and Doris Parkins purchased the Milan Exchange and merged the two papers into the Milan Mirror Exchange.

They literally raised their eight children in the newspaper business,

"We all worked here at one time or another, whether it was stuff in newspapers delivering newspapers, you know, just helping around their office, making up ads or making up pages. We all grew up in the business, so that was never a dull moment," Parkins said.

Parkins recalls times when his dad would take them along to breaking news stories, "You may be, you know, on the way home from a baseball game with dad and all of a sudden a news story breaks out and so next thing you know, you're on a scene of some kind of news story.”

Victor Parkins and his sister Scarlett Elliot are now co-owners of the Milan Mirror Exchange. Scarlet says she fell in love with the newspaper business from an early age, "It's always been a passion. And I worked here stuffing inserts when i was in the sixth grade…went to college for two years, always worked at press… and then I got into sales, which are really, really enjoy going out and talking to customers and new businesses and things like that.”

Parkins took over the job of editor when his father passed away in 2008,

“It's something I'm proud of too, to carry on his legacy and, you know, just to keep going keep things going the way he started them. We're 100% hometown community news and that's the way he wanted it," Parkins said.

Parkins recalls a story from Milan that gained national attention in 1977, “There was millions of blackbirds that came to roost in Milan so big that the national guard had to be called in they had to spray them with some kind of chemical, poisonous…and so there were dead blackbirds laying all over the town…the BBC came to town, NBC Today Show came to town, and I actually got to ride in the helicopter with my dad to watch him spray these blackbirds.”

Victor and Scarlett hope to continue the family's legacy for years to come

Victor said, We just want stories about people from this community. And that's what our readers want to see on our pages so you know that’s our focus.”

Scarlett said, “Our dad really loved pictures in the paper. So that tradition is kind of carried on still. And, you know, it's a hit. I mean, you see parents posting those pictures on Facebook.”

The Milan Mirror Exchange prints 4000 issues every week and post their stories online.

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