C & G Newspapers founders inducted into Macomb Hall of Fame

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published September 25, 2015

 Gilbert Demers and his wife, Charlotte, are the C and the G in C & G. He founded the company in Warren in 1981.

Gilbert Demers and his wife, Charlotte, are the C and the G in C & G. He founded the company in Warren in 1981.

MACOMB COUNTY — Newspaper publishers, community service award winners, and now the Demers family are Hall of Famers.

The Demers, whose patriarch Gilbert Demers founded C & G Newspapers in Warren in 1981, were among five Macomb Foundation Hall of Fame inductees honored Sept. 24 at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights.

Macomb County Chamber CEO Grace Shore explained how trustees of the chamber’s sister organization choose inductees each year.

“We always look for two things: successful businesspeople in Macomb County, or (people or businesses) that either make a major contribution with what they do or they are very philanthropic,” Shore said.

Shore said that to date, 72 people have been inducted into the Macomb Foundation’s Hall of Fame.

Shortly after founding C & G Newspapers, Gilbert Demers and his wife, Charlotte — the C and the G in C & G — were joined by their five children: Gregg, Keith, Jeff, Karen and Suzanne, each taking on different responsibilities in running the thriving newspaper company that today has 19 publications covering 47 communities.

Jeff Demers, who began working for the family business in 1983, said C & G sponsors hundreds of events and organizations in Macomb County that are raising funds for a good cause or for local charities.

He said it’s rewarding to be able to have the ability to do that — to give back.

“We are local,” Demers said. “That’s our niche. We provide local news to the communities because where are they going to get it? Not on the Internet, unless they’re on our site.”

Gilbert Demers’ publishing career actually began in 1977 when, after 14 years of selling meat, he decided to try something different.

A friend suggested he try selling advertising for a local newspaper called Advertiser. So that’s what he did.

About six months later, the owner of the newspaper decided to move out of state and offered to sell the paper to Demers, but the cost was too much.

Demers has said that he wondered about job security with the paper’s impending sale, so he decided to start a shopper of his own in St. Clair Shores, where the family lived at the time.

He was introduced to people who would help him get that first issue off the ground, and he had the printed papers delivered to his home. As a baseball coach in the area, Demers knew some kids who he eventually recruited to help deliver the papers.

He later started a shopper in Roseville and East Detroit (now Eastpointe), and when the 50,000-circulation Advertiser was up for sale again, Demers made an offer — and the rest is history.

Demers then opened the Warren Weekly. It initially came out every two weeks, but later became a weekly like 18 of the 19 C & G publications are today, stretching across most of Macomb and Oakland counties and into Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods.

“In 2004, we went into Oakland County more,” Demers previously said. “Our papers are geared for the individual community they go to, our news copy, so when they pick up a paper in the city, they know exactly what’s going on in their city.”

The company launched its website, www.candgnews.com, in February 2006, and today C & G’s newspapers are mailed to more than 600,000 homes.

It’s that exposure that has helped many advertising businesses thrive.

“We help local businesses stay in business and grow,” said Jeff Demers, adding that the Hall of Fame award is “really an honor.”

“Many people wouldn’t be walking into their store to buy their products or services if they didn’t know about the specials (that were advertised),” he said. “We hear that from those businesses. That’s the most rewarding thing: watching local businesses succeed. It makes you think, ‘Hey, we’re doing something right.’ It feels good.”

Other Hall of Fame honorees on Sept. 24 were Dr. Arthur Frazier, with the McLaren Macomb Ted Wahby Cancer Center; Frank and Andrea Nicolella, of Nino Salvaggio International Marketplace and its Charitable Foundation for Children in Need; Roy Rose, of Anderson, Eckstein & Westrick Inc.; and Ray Weingartz, of Weingartz Nursery.