Mintz & Hoke CEO Chris Knopf last week vowed there will be no layoffs at his 70-person shop in the near term as client Ames Stores winds down operations.
In light of Ames' 2001 bankruptcy filing and subsequent rounds of store closings, Knopf said he was not surprised that the Rocky Hill, Conn.-based discount merchant an-nounced it will close and liquidate its 330 retail locations. "We made sure our financial situation with them was secure—we're prepared for this," he said.
"We're sad to see the passing of the relationship and great work," Knopf said. "But we're strong and healthy and have been for a while. The agency will weather this."
The client and agency worked together for eight years, and Ames became one of the Avon, Conn., shop's showpiece accounts. Ames, which through May spent $10 million on ads, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last summer. Mintz & Hoke handled creative chores; media placement was performed in-house.
Ames does not owe Mintz & Hoke any substantial sums, Knopf said. Since the Chapter 11 filing, the agency had required advance payment against production costs, sources said.