McMillans acquire Palm Coast and Ormond Beach Observers

After 13 years, John Walsh is retiring; Brian McMillan succeeds him as publisher. ‘A sad day and a great day,’ Matt Walsh says.

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  • | 6:35 p.m. August 29, 2023
Hailey and Brian McMillan
Hailey and Brian McMillan
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John Walsh and his brother Matt Walsh have sold the Palm Coast Observer and Ormond Beach Observer. The buyers may be familiar to readers: Former editor Brian McMillan and his wife, Hailey, will take over as co-owners, effective immediately.

“I couldn’t be more comfortable, or more proud, with Brian and Hailey McMillan carrying the Observer forward,” said John Walsh, who will be retiring as co-owner and publisher. “We’ve built this together, and we know that quality local news will continue to serve our communities.”

Seeing a need for hyper local news in Palm Coast, in 2010, John Walsh partnered with Matt Walsh and Lisa Walsh, co-owners of Sarasota-based Observer Media Group Inc., to start the Palm Coast Observer, with Brian McMillan as editor. The Ormond Beach Observer was founded in 2012. The newspapers went on to win dozens of awards as members of the Florida Press Association. 

Brian McMillan left the Observer in 2022. When the opportunity arose, the McMillans formed McMillan Ink LLC and bought the Observers this week. Hailey McMillan, 41, will continue as the newspaper’s award-winning page designer.

“I’m back because I believe in the mission of these newspapers,” said Brian McMillan, 43. “The Walshes have been gracious and wise mentors, and Hailey and I consider them to be family.”

“It’s a sad day and a great day — sad because my wife and business partner, Lisa, and my brother, John, are sad to be selling the Palm Coast and Ormond Beach Observers. But it’s a great day because we could not be happier to have Brian and Hailey McMillan as the buyers,” Matt Walsh said.

“Family and health circumstances made Lisa and me reach this tough decision to sell. But we do so with great pride in what John, Brian and our Palm Coast and Ormond Beach colleagues contributed to Palm Coast and Ormond Beach over the past 13 years of our ownership. 

“They helped make their communities better by keeping people informed and helped make the local economies better by helping local businesses promote their products and services — the essential roles of a local newspaper.

“I know, because of Brian’s and Hailey’s talents and values, they will take the Observers and to new, higher and better levels,” Matt Walsh said.



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