Here’s something we haven’t seen much of in recent years: A local newspaper investing in a local classifieds business.

The Beaumont (Texas) Enterprise – a Hearst daily – acquired classified marketplace and related properties from Virtual Communities Inc. Terms were not disclosed. serves Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange, Texas, with extended reach into Southwest Louisiana and the Greater Houston area. According to founder Paul Chargois, the marketplace has about 260,000 unique monthly visitors who generate more than 700,000 visits, processing 90,000 ads a month with 16 million page views.

The marketplace will continue to operate as a standalone brand. “ began as a thought in 1996 and became a reality in 1997, and guiding our rapid growth for the past 18 years has been my joy,” Chargois said in a statement. “Now, to be acquired by The Beaumont Enterprise is this entrepreneurs dream come true.”

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