Rotary Club of Portland Maine USA

*02/16/18 Reade Brower, Owner PPH and Lewiston Sun Journal

Posted by Bob Martin

Reade Brower began his publishing career in Rockland, Maine with a coupon book for downtown merchants. The coupon book became The Free Press, a fixture in mid-coast Maine for 30 years, and Brower’s publishing business grew to include Target Marketing, the Sunshine travel guides, and a number of publications for various chambers of commerce along the coast. The failures of other entrepreneurs expanded his portfolio as he acquired Village Soup and Courier Publications, and took over Alliance Press in Brunswick when they couldn’t pay his invoices. To make the numbers work with the printing press in Brunswick, he successfully approached the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald to outsource their newspaper printing. In 2015, when he sat down to negotiate a new printing contract for the Portland Press Herald, then-owner Donald Sussman proposed an offer for Brower to take over all of Maine Today Media’s assets.

Since his purchase of Maine Today Media, Brower acquired the Sun Media Group, publisher of Lewiston’s Sun Journal and a dozen weekly newspapers in southern and western Maine, and the Rutland Herald, Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, along with affiliated print and online publications of the Herald Association in Vermont.

In a November 26, 2017 article, Murray Carpenter of the New York Times described Brower as “an unassuming figure for a media mogul.” Media watchers don’t find Brower’s hold on the newspaper industry in Maine and Vermont in the same vein as a Jeff Bezos or Rupert Murdoch. “I don’t feel at all powerful,” Brower told the Times. “My job is to create a sustainable business model that keeps people who want to be working in this industry working. And to have enough money coming in to pay the bills and make a profit so it’s a viable business.”

Asked by Downeast Magazine whether he had a five-year or a ten-year plan for his conglomerate,  Brower responded, “I have a 10-minute plan.”