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Kirkland Lake brothers expand business into Ottawa.

Kirkland Lake brothers expand business into Ottawa

The well-known Connelly family of Kirkland Lake has just expanded its business holdings.

Brothers Cliff and Wayne Connelly have bought a 57-year-old publications distribution company in the nation's capital.

The company, National News Co., is the magazine, book and newspaper distributor for the Ottawa and Hull-Aylmer areas.

National News will be added to an impressive list of companies owned or co-owned by the brothers Connelly and other members of the family.

Before the National News purchase, Cliff Connelly already owned the Connelly News Service in the Ottawa area, which distributes La Presse, the New York Times, U.S.A. Today and the Ottawa Citizen.

Cliff also owns Tech News Agency in Kirkland Lake, which covers most of northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec. His two daughters Patty-Lou Andrews and Tammy Wright are also partners in the Tech operation, which was purchased in 1975.

There was even a family aspect to that purchase. Tech News Agency had been owned by Cliff's brother Norm, who is now in the general insurance business in Kirkland Lake.

Wayne Connelly is general manager of the Tech News Agency.

About three years ago, Cliff and Wayne bought Kingston News Service in Kingston.

Then, two years ago, Cliff Connelly bought Publishers Services Ltd. in Toronto. He also owns Highpoint Periodicals Ltd. in Scarborough, Ont.

As for his children, son Robin owns two radio stations in northeastern Ontario, CJKL in Kirkland Lake and CJTT in New Liskeard.

In January, another son, Richard, opened a Tim Horton's franchise in Kirkland Lake.

His eldest son, Donnie, owns the Pic Motel in Marathon.

In total, the operations owned by various members of the family employ between 250 and 275 people, noted Cliff Connelly.

However, he chuckled at the suggestion that the company has the makings of a family empire.

"We're workers," he said, noting that the family has a strong work ethic.

The Connellys are originally from Rouyn-Noranda, Que.

Wayne Connelly was a professional hockey player, playing for Boston, Minnesota and Detroit of the National Hockey League.

He also has the distinction of being the first player to sign a contract with a team in the former World Hockey Association. In that league, he played for the Minnesota Fighting Saints.

Cliff Connelly has the business distinction of being the former sales manager for all of Ontario with Labatt's Breweries, where he worked for more than 12 years.

He said the latest purchase is the largest of his companies. That can be illustrated by the fact that National News distributes about 2,500 magazine titles.

Connelly will be spending a number of months in Ottawa to oversee the operation.

There are no plans for the immediate future to expand further.

"For a year or so, we'll be concentrating on what we've bought," he said.

The sale, which was finalized July 27, will have no impact on the operations of National News or its approximately 70 employees, said Connelly.

The publications it distributes include Maclean's, The Financial Post, U.S.A. Today and Ottawa Business News.

National News also distributes paperback novels to convenience and grocery stores.

The sale of National News was prompted by the retirement of the company's owners, Betty Jackson and Peggy White, and of the general manager Bill Burger, who had been in the position since 1957.
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Copyright 1990, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:News and Features; Cliff Connelly; Wayne Connelly
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:554
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