The Davis Enterprise has deep roots in the Davis community. Founded in 1897 as The Davisville Enterprise by L.A. Eichler, it is Davis’ longest continuously operated business.
The 1890s were a booming time for newspapers. In less than six months, Eichler was able to expand The Enterprise from a four-page weekly to eight pages.
Three years later, William H. Scott, a Yolo County native and local justice of the peace, took over ownership. He served as editor and publisher from 1900 to 1935.
Chelso Maghetti, who came to Davis in 1919 and served as postmaster from 1927 through 1936, bought The Enterprise from Scott in 1935 and continued to publish it until 1960.
It wasn’t until the 1960s that The Enterprise became an afternoon newspaper published five days a week, and it grew to a circulation of about 1,300 under several different owners.
After the McNaughton family purchased the newspaper from the Tibbitts family in 1967, they constructed a new home for the newspaper at 302 G St. Then, in 1983, The Enterprise underwent a major expansion with its move to a newly renovated, 8,000-square-foot building at 315 G St., site of the former post office. That building remains its home today.
The newspaper remains family-owned and -operated. This year marks the McNaughton family’s 46th year of Enterprise ownership.
The Davis Enterprise is one member of the McNaughton Newspapers family, which is composed of seven community newspapers: The Enterprise ; The Daily Republic in Fairfield; the Winters Express; The Mountain Democrat in Placerville; Village Life in El Dorado Hills; Cameron Park Life; and the Georgetown Gazette.
Foy McNaughton serves as chief executive officer for the company, and his brother Burt is publisher of The Davis Enterprise.
The McNaughton family has a long history of publishing newspapers. In 1917, F.F. McNaughton, Foy and Burt’s grandfather, bought a small weekly newspaper in Indiana. Ten years later, he purchased the Pekin Daily Times in Illinois, which became their flagship newspaper for 60 more years.
The McNaughtons purchased The Davis Enterprise in 1967 from the Tibbitts family.
Three of the McNaughton children became involved in the business, including Dean McNaughton, who led the drive to purchase three Northern California newspapers: The Daily Republic in 1960, The Mountain Democrat in 1966 and The Enterprise. Dean died in June 2012 at age 89.
In 1974, Dean’s son Foy McNaughton began his apprenticeship at The Enterprise, working in many areas of newspaper publication. He became publisher of The Enterprise in 1979, and is now chief executive officer of McNaughton Newspapers. He still lives in Davis with his family.
Foy’s brother, Burt McNaughton, joined the company in 1981 and worked in advertising. He is publisher of The Enterprise and lives in El Macero with his family.
“A family business means you’ve got an entire team willing to work with you,” Burt says.
The fourth-generation member of McNaughton Newspapers, Foy’s son T. Burt McNaughton, also began in the advertising department. He spent three years running The Enterprise ’s circulation department and now serves as general manager and co-publisher of The Daily Republic.
“Having children also in the business encourages us to stay involved and not sell out,” Foy McNaughton says. “Family-run businesses are key to keeping the economy from going to an all-corporate world.”