Youngquist Closes YMI?, Joins Small Montana Shop

Wes Young quist has traded in the Bay Area for Big Sky Country.

The 42-year-old adman, who most recently ran YMI? Advertising in San Francisco for two and a half years, has moved to Bozeman, Mont., and joined a local shop there, Mercury Ad vertising, as creative director. He is bringing three YMI? clients with him: Napa Ridge Vineyards, Red Lodge Ales and Restoration Hardware.

Youngquist, who worked at the former Hal Riney & Partners and Citron Haligman Bedecarré earlier in his career, said the decision to uproot was the result of the “soul searching” he did after his agency partner, Pat Marcoccia, died in a car accident in November 2000.

“It took the wind out of my sails,” Youngquist said. “We tried to keep [YMI?] going, but when the economy went down it made it harder.”

Eventually he chose Bozeman as a place to make a new start. “You look at your life, and you wonder where you fit in and what makes you happy,” he said. “I did a reassessment of everything. I made a move for life, and I was fortunate to find a young, upcoming agency.”

In addition to his old accounts, Youngquist will work on Mercury’s Big Sky ski resort, Montana tourism and Big R Stores businesses. He reports to agency founder and president Jeff Welch.

Mercury has 15 employees and roughly $5 million in billings.

Youngquist said the geographic shift will mean a lifestyle change, too. Although Montana isn’t seen as a hotbed of advertising talent, he said he is excited to bring a Bay Area perspective to his new home.

“This is the right place for me,” he said. “The agency has a passion for doing good work, and the region presents a challenge for new business. The big headlines here are how the high school football game turned out Friday night, but it’s a progressive town with a lot of artists.

“This isn’t a career path a lot of people take, but I think it’s going to be rewarding.”