In the Black

Founded by J.W. French on the banks of the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan in 1871, French Paper is one of the last small, independent paper mills in America—and one of the few still owned and run by the same family. “When I tell people I’m a paper salesman, the first thing they say is, ‘Didn’t the internet kill that job?’” jokes Brian French, J.W.’s great-great-great grandson.

It’s true that digital media—as well as foreign competition—has carved a sizeable chunk out of

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