MOUNT VERNON — Although Phil Earlywine has worked for almost a decade delivering the Mount Vernon News, his roots run deeper than his routes. His father, John Earlywine, served as circulation manager for the paper from the mid-1950s until about 1970, before moving on to another position.
Phil first became directly involved with the operation when he was 10 years old, by filling in for a week for a regular carrier. He became a regular carrier in 2002, when he was looking for work and his father suggested taking on a paper route. His father’s insights to the business have taught Phil many valuable insights about the paper.
“I learned from my dad that the customer is No. 1,” Earlywine said. “Giving a smile and having a good attitude go a long way.”
John Earlywine will be turning 77 in May, so Phil is retiring from his delivery job so he can help his father at home.
Mary Price has been Phil Earlywine’s customer as long as she has lived on Fearn Avenue. Since then, she has grown used to talking with Earlywine when he delivers her daily paper, covering such diverse topics as the weather, mutual friends and church.
“We’re all going to miss him,” Price said.
It’s not just his customers who will hate to see Earlywine retire.
“He was always a good kid,” said News Publisher Kay Culbertson. “He is always steadfast. It doesn’t matter what the weather is, he’s out there delivering the News. I really hate to see him retire.”
Earlywine said he has enjoyed his time working at the News, despite occasionally challenging conditions, such as February’s record snow. But he said he still preferred it to when he substituted as a child, because now the carriers no longer have to collect payments.
As a parting gift, Earlywine left a few words of wisdom for young newspaper carriers.
“If you do a good job and stay on time, you will be rewarded,” Earlywine said. “Just remember, since they’ve already paid, it’s the customer’s paper.”