Paul Brown sits at his desk by the front window and quietly types.
His phone rings.
“Good morning, thank you for calling the Kirkland Reporter. How can I help you?” he answers.
It’s a variation of a line Brown has joyfully said for nearly the past 20 years.
Brown will be retiring on Oct. 18 from being sales manager for Sound Publishing’s Bothell-Kenmore, Kirkland and Redmond reporters.
“It’s been a wonderful career,” Brown said.
Brown entered the newspaper business with Little Nickel Classifieds. Sound Publishing bought it in 2006 and promoted Brown to sales manager. Brown also worked as a sales manager at Today’s Careers Employment Newspaper.
“It was a job and I took it,” he said with a laugh. “I was always good at sales.
His career took a shift when he was asked to be the publisher of the Marysville Globe and the Arlington Times — both of which are part of the Sound Publishing family — in 2012.
“It was fascinating,” he said. “I got to be on the inside and learn through a different lens.”
He said his years as publisher were some of the most significant years of his career.
“I was there for the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting and the Oso landslide,” he said.
He remembers the moment he and the rest of the newsroom learned of the shooting.
“We were all just standing in front of the TV. The paper had already gone to press…We were so shocked but we got on it,” he said. “I called to stop the press and said we needed a rewrite of page one and three.”
He said he was amazed at the way the editors and reporters came together as a cohesive unit.
“We all stayed through the night. It wasn’t until about 5 a.m. the next morning that we all went to rest,” he said. “I sat in my office and cried — all of it finally hit me.”
Following the paper’s story on the shooting, Brown said other news outlets called him for honorary interviews. He declined.
“‘We report the news, we don’t make the news,’” he told the news outlets.
A package was sent to the Marysville Globe office three weeks after the shooting. It was from the staff of the Sandy Hook Bee — the local paper that covered the Sandy Hook shooting.
“They sent us a care package. Coffee, candy and left over little rubber ducks the first responders gave the children at the Sandy Hook shooting,” Brown said. “There was one other thing in the box — a bell with a heart that said ‘Be Kind.’ I still have it and it’s one of my treasures.”
Brown was promoted to sales manager at the Kirkland Reporter office in 2016.
Pili Linares, advertising director for seven of the Eastside weekly Sound Publishing newspapers, said it has been a joy to work with Brown.
“He’s the epitome of integrity,” she said. “He’s so loyal, hardworking and enthusiastic. He’s an amazing coach, mentor and friend…He will definitely be missed.”
Brown said one of his biggest takeaways from his time with Sound Publishing is taking joy in helping people.
“I’ve never considered myself a salesperson. I see it as more of a consultant. We work to find solutions to customers’ problems,” he said. “It’s all about building relationships…If you do right by the customer, the money will follow.”