St. Jacobs-based Quarry Integrated Communications didn’t have far to go in changing hands: the company was acquired by long-time employees in a deal that closed earlier this month.
It was a “win-win-win deal,” says Alan Quarry, former chair and majority shareholder of the company.
“The Quarry clients, shareholders and team will all benefit from this well-organized transition,” Quarry said.
The company was founded by Quarry’s father, Bob Quarry, in 1973. Alan joined in 1983 and bought out his father five years later.
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“The thing that I’m most proud of is the people that we’ve employed have risen to be at the top of their field. We’re recognized as being in the top 15 b2b [business to business] advertising agencies in North America, and we’ve done that with mostly homegrown talent,” Quarry said in an interview.
“It’s just really something to help people succeed and to help companies like FedEx in the United States. It has been really great to work with those clients across North America,” he said.
The buyout sees Quarry along with two other shareholders, Glen Drummond and Ken Whyte, resign their roles as board members. The three will no longer participate in the company. The move sees Tony Mohr, Meredith Fuller, Mandey Moote and Richard Hill each take a 25 per cent stake in the company. While the actual sale was made in October 2020, the ownership succession plan was completed this month
According to Quarry, there have been several offers from larger firms to buy the company over the last 15 years. None was accepted.
“Those are interesting opportunities. I soon found, though, that the other companies were most interested in buying our cash flow, our sales figures to include in theirs, and I felt the strongest loyalty to the people that built the Quarry company and decided that it would be better for myself and two other shareholders to sell into younger people at Quarry,” he said.
“[The previous owners] very much created a culture, a unique culture and a way of doing business that they wanted to preserve and they wanted to leave a legacy related to that and rather than selling out, as they called it, to a large multinational conglomerate,” said Mohr who has been with the Quarry since 2007 and been the Quarry’s president and CEO since April last year.
Mohr said he is excited for the company to grow in more than just a financial sense.
“There are several frontiers that we want to grow in. Certainly there is a kind of growth with our clients in terms of adopting and adapting leading edge marketing practices that’s continuously what we work with our clients to do. We’re known as a firm that adopts what’s next in b2b marketing and helping our clients leverage new ways of new approaches to marketing new technology, new sources of data so that we can help them grow their businesses so I’m very excited about the trajectory that we’re on with that,” he said.
One thing the new ownership is not planning on changing is the name.
“We have a very well established brand. We’re known throughout North America as a top b2b agency. We’re proud of the brand and it’s a brand that’s well known. We would advise our clients the same advice, that when you’ve poured that many years of investment into building a strong brand equity don’t fix what’s not broken,” he said.
Alan Quarry says he has several interesting projects he’s continuing to work on. He founded the non-profit HeartBeatsHate in 2017.
“It’s a movement across North America where we’re working to let people know that there’s a choice. You choose either love or hate and we think the better choice is to choose love, not hate. And so we’re working with lots of kids… because we’re looking to attract a younger audience, because that’s where we need to have the most influence,” he added.