North Castle To Close Hub Office; Star, Wellspark Evaluate Options

North Castle Partners will shutter its Boston office in April, a move that will leave two sizable clients–Star Markets and WellsPark Group–without agency relationships.
“We have made a business decision to consolidate all of our operations” in Stamford, Conn., said North Castle president Cliff McFeely.
Star Markets, a supermarket chain based in Cambridge, Mass., is expected to conduct a review of its account. WellsPark, a shopping mall management company in Newton, Mass., said in a statement issued by North Castle that it would evaluate handling its account in-house. Client representatives could not be reached for comment at press time.
McFeely estimated that Star Markets and WellsPark spend about $3-5 million annually on media. North Castle’s Boston office will finish up projects for the clients over the next couple of months.
Filene’s Basement, the other company handled by the Hub outpost, is expected to remain on board and be serviced from Stamford, McFeely said.
It has not been determined how many Boston staffers will be offered jobs in Connecticut. General manager M.L. Nichols, who will stay aboard through the “transition period,” will probably not be kept on after the office closes, McFeely said. Nichols did not return calls by press time.
North Castle reported a drop in annual billings from $110 million a year ago to about $60 million at present. However, the decline is mainly due to the late 1996 defection of Ocean Spray Cranberries and former chief executive officer Lynn Rotando to Arnold Communications in Boston.
“I don’t think there’s a danger of us imploding,” said McFeely, who indicated that the agency is consolidating operations in one location to remain financially viable.
The shop has performed well in several new business pitches this year, winning assignments from Lifesavers and Planters’ Corn Nuts.
–with Sarah Jones

Star Market is expected to conduct a review of its account; WellsPark said in a statement issued by North Castle that it would evaluate handling its account in-house.