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PR firm Hetrick Communications closing shop

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One of the city’s best-known advertising and public relations firms plans to close at the end of September.

Bruce Hetrick, president and CEO of Hetrick Communications, on Tuesday told his staff that there wasn’t enough business coming in to keep the firm afloat. He began apprising clients of the news later in the day.

Hetrick Communications was founded in 1994 and is the Indianapolis area's ninth-largest public relations firm, according to IBJ research. The firm had nine full-time PR employees as March 7, down from 12 in 2010. 

The agency also ranked as the area's 19th largest advertising agency, with more than $12.8 million in capitalized billing in 2009, down from $15.5 in 2008.

Its clients included Indiana University, Simon Youth Foundation, NIPSCO and Atlas World Group.

Bruce Hetrick, the firm’s founder, writes a popular and award-winning column for IBJ. He said Tuesday that the firm is down to six employees.

Since its founding, Hetrick Communications has worked with a variety of local and state organizations, primarily in health care and life sciences, higher education and philanthropy.

Hetrick cited a number of factors for the decision, including the death of a key partner, a failed experiment with specialization and the poor economy.

“In this economic environment,” said Hetrick, “we find ourselves with a level of talent and office space that we cannot sustain while remaining competitive.”

Sources close to Hetrick said the firm took a blow when Bruce Hetrick’s wife, Pam Klein, died of cancer in 2005. Klein, a former business editor for The Indianapolis Star, joined Hetrick in 1998 to help run the agency.

In a letter to clients and friends, Hetrick said, “My biggest concern now is the good people remaining at our firm. They’re the ones most affected by our company’s closing. Should you know of opportunities, I hope you will share them so these talented professionals might make a good and timely transition to organizations that can benefit from their expertise.”

The firm will cease day-to-day operations by Sept. 30, vacate its Pan Am Plaza offices by Oct. 31 and wrap up details by the end of the year, it said.

 

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  • very cool ...
    A quick comment to commend the thoughtful and kind sentiments relayed to Bruce Hetrick and his firm's employees. IBJ readers just impressed this guy, and I can tell you that were I needing to fill a PR related position, I'd take this wonderful crop of comments to heart, and hit the Hetrick Communications phone list because of it. You're a good bunch of people to make such statements (and not just "think" them...)
  • Condolences
    Sorry to hear about this, Bruce and firm. Wishing all the best success and opportunity in the future.
  • Wishing all the best
    This is a sad loss for Indianapolis in so many ways. I hope these talented and committed folks every future success.
  • sorry to see this!
    Concur with the above commments regarding Hetrick. You're a class act Bruce. Best wishes from "your grocer", Danny O'Malia
  • A True Loss
    The loss of Bruce Hetrick's firm is sad for the Indianapolis business community. It is more than a little ironic that, in the "Related News" column to the left of the article, one of the stories listed is "New York firm wins Steak n Shake ad account". With the amount of creative talent available in Indianapolis, it's a shame that some of our local firms feel that they have to take their business to New York or Chicago.

    Bob Neville
    President
    The Neville Group, Inc.
  • Indy's Loss
    So sorry to learn this news. PR is a tough, competitive business and to have lasted as long as Hetrick in a market this size is a real achievement. Best of luck to the fine folks at Hetrick and onward to new adventures, Bruce!
  • Keeping it classy
    Gosh, I wonder which Indy PR execs are referenced in this comment. Have some respect, vultures.
  • Wishing you well
    Bruce - I was very sad to read the news of your firm's closing. I have ALWAYS followed you in the IBJ and looked forward to reading your blogs. The Indpls community will miss your insight, your wise words, good advice and your calls to action. I wish you and your employees all the very best!
  • Bruce
    So sad to hear the news of Hetrick closing. Bruce was one of Indy's most creative ad guys. This economy is crushing some of our greatest talents. God bless those that worked at Hetrick. I know Bruce will do well independently and his former staff should shine as well.

    Best to you all from the Voice Talent community...
  • Can't wait to read "what's next"
    Bruce is a truly gifted writer, creative genius and a person of high integrity. This must have been a very difficult decision. I look forward to reading a column in the not too distant future that tells us all about what fabulous endeavor Bruce takes on next.
  • Sad news
    Bruce is such a talented and community spirited professional. He'll do well in whatever is next.

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