News-Herald’s Barnes retiring

Published 10:53 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sue Barnes, a veteran marketing consultant with the Suffolk News-Herald, will be selling advertisements up to the very last minute before her retirement this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, she made phone calls to advertisers from her desk, which still held family photos and files full of information. But Barnes is retiring Friday after nearly 30 years of service to the Suffolk News-Herald. Staff at the newspaper held a reception in her honor at the office on Wednesday.



“I’m proud to be able to work as long as I have,” Barnes said in an interview. “I’ve got a lot of great memories.”

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Barnes worked at a bank as a young woman and then took 10 years off to raise her children. When she was ready to go back to work, an acquaintance who worked at the newspaper suggested she fill an open clerical position. She began her new job the day after Thanksgiving in 1983.

It wasn’t long before supervisors recognized Barnes’ natural ability to talk just about anybody into anything. She was put to work selling ads for a former adjunct publication, the Tidewater Shopper, and soon began selling for the Suffolk News-Herald as well.

It was a different era when she started serving area businesses. There were no cell phones to call clients while on the road, no website to sell advertisements for and no email to use to generate leads. But she pressed on through the years, embracing each new opportunity when it came.

“I just enjoyed helping people,” she said. “It’s still the same, but we can do it better and faster than we could then.”

Barnes was known for her smiling personality and eagerness to please her customers, said longtime client Billy Chorey Sr. of Chorey and Associates Realty.

“She’s been our representative for a long time,” Chorey said. “Sue is as sweet a person as I’ve ever known. She very much wants to please her customers. She deserves to have a break.”

Barnes said she managed to please advertisers, because she always tried to put herself in their shoes.

“Sue Barnes is appreciated for her many years of service and loyalty to our newspaper and, more important, her clients, who have benefited from her tireless commitment to customer service,” Publisher Steve Stewart said. “We wish Sue well as she retires and devotes more time to her family, church and leisure pursuits. She will be missed.”

Barnes said she and her husband, Joe, plan to take some trips, volunteer and go to more of their two grandchildren’s baseball and soccer games.

“I’m going to sleep in at least two days, and then I really don’t know,” she said. “I’m not going to want to sit around and do nothing.”