Trion Purchases Evergreen

Trion Communications is banking on its acquisition last week of Evergreen Communications to help make it more of a force on the regional agency scene.

Providence, R.I.-based Trion purchased crosstown shop Evergreen for an undisclosed amount.

Sources pegged the sale of Evergreen, with estimated annual billings of $10 million, in the low seven-figure range. The newly combined agency has 30 employees and claims more than $30 million in billings, making it one of Rhode Island’s largest shops. It is still far smaller than the state’s No. 1 agency, RDW Group, which reported 2002 billings of $73 million.

The enhanced Trion will retain its name and continue to be managed by its three partners: Josh Fenton, who oversees advertising; Frank McMahon, in charge of the agency’s government relations division; and David Preston, who leads the public relations group.

Among the six Evergreen staff members joining the agency are principals David Gallone as creative director and Brian Heil as director of client services. Five freelancers will also continue their relationships with the shop.

No clients or employees are expected to leave as a result of the buyout, Fenton said.

“Matching the strategic strength of Trion and the creative strength of Evergreen makes for the best of both worlds,” said Fenton. He cited Evergreen’s work in the financial services sector and the travel and tourism marketplaces as particularly compelling.

Evergreen wanted to expand beyond its status as a creative boutique, and was impressed with Fenton’s reputation in building business. “Josh has always been a winner. He knows how to bid a piece of business,” said Heil.

Trion was looking to grow, and got to know Evergreen when both shops pitched the Newport County Convention & Visitors Bureau account this summer, agency principals said. Though neither landed the business, which went to America House Communications in Newport, R.I., Fenton was impressed with Evergreen’s creative ap-proach and the agencies’ two management teams began talks about bringing their shops together.

Evergreen brings clients such as Fleet Capital, the Rhode Island Lottery and Starwood Hotels to Trion, which has enjoyed a healthy new-business run in 2002. Trion’s recently added clients include Sodexho USA, Turfer Sportsware and R.I. Quality Partners.