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.