By Ellen Rooney Martin
CHICAGO-Barkley & Evergreen in Kansas City, Mo., has swapped one retail jewelry account for another, picking up the Marks Bros. Jewelers Inc. business and resigning its 19-year relationship with Helzberg's Diamond Shops.
The Kansas City-based Helzberg's chain announced last month it was putting its account into review. Initially, B&E had decided to participate in the review, but changed its course after being contacted by the Chicago-based Marks Bros. company.
"When we learned that Barkley & Evergreen might be available to work with us on marketing, we got very excited," said Hugh Patinkin, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Marks Bros.
"They have a great deal of knowledge about our business, and that's difficult to find," Patinkin said.
Marks Bros. operates 174 stores in 24 states under the Whitehall Co. Jewelers, Lundstrom Jewelers and Marks Bros. Jewelers names. It ranks sixth among jewelry retailers in the nation, according to B&E.
Billings for the assignment were not disclosed. In addition to advertising, B&E will provide strategic planning, media planning, database marketing, direct mail and customer service consulting.
At the same time, the review for Helzberg's is continuing. Six agencies made presentations two weeks ago to the retailer and a decision is expected next week, said John Goodman, vice president of marketing. He declined to identify the participants. The retailer has 191 stores, with 150 in mall locations.
"The review was part of an overall company reassessment of many of its business partners," Goodman explained.
"Barkley & Evergreen made a presentation and then announced they had partnered with another jewelry competitor. We are comfortable with that," Goodman added.
Helzberg's spent $1.4 million on advertising in 1996, according to data obtained from Competitive Media Reporting. °
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