The Shopping News of Lancaster County was first published on April 14, 1965 as a 24-page half-tab issue. It was mailed to 10,000 homes in the area. Today, The Shopping News publishes a full-tab paper and is delivered to 37,000 homes each week.
During the early 1960s there were no free papers covering Northern Lancaster County. Publisher John Hocking and his wife Janie had been thinking about starting a free paper for quite some time. At the time, he was the founder and owner of Hocking Printing Co., Inc., which he began in 1953. The first location of his printing company was at 27 Lincoln Avenue Rear, Ephrata, in a small garage-type building. As the printing business expanded, John moved the business to his residence, at that time located at 119 E. Franklin Street, Ephrata. When that location proved too small, John purchased 24 E. Orange Street, Ephrata. It was at that location in 1965 that The Shopping News was first published.
In 1972, John purchased the former East End Planing Mill on East Main Street in Ephrata. The building was renovated and was home to both the printing company and The Shopping News until 1986.
On February 6, 1986, a fire completely destroyed the building. Due to the dedicated work of the employees and the help from friends and business associates, only one issue of The Shopping News was missed. In 1987, the company moved back to the rebuilt 615 E. Main St. location in the new building where it is today.
The Shopping News has been recognized by a national free paper organization for its dedication to customer service and for printing a superior newspaper. Awards have been won in various categories from the Association of Community Publishers (ACP) and Mid-Atlantic Community Papers Association (MACPA) for many years.
One of the most popular features of The Shopping News is the section that is produced each March called “Meeting The Business Challenge.” This past year over 100 businesses were featured in the section with articles and photos of their businesses and employees.