After 30 Years, Maiden Lane to Close

LOS ANGELES Independent Maiden Lane is closing by week’s end, despite winning the estimated $20 million Round Table Pizza business earlier this month.

Key agency personnel including the shop’s founder are forming new ventures, according to sources.

“There were financial issues,” explained Bob Gardner, who founded the San Francisco agency 30 years ago. “This is the last thing I ever expected after three decades of success.” Gardner declined to elaborate.

Gardner said he is not retiring but rather “going forward with a new entity in San Francisco. We’re talking to some of the clients and great new prospects. I guess you could say that I’m going to push the restart button.”

Some clients and staff from Maiden Lane might join him, but those relationships are still in negotiation, he said.

Maiden Lane’s closure puts about 20 employees out of work. Clients include Delta Dental, AARP Health Care Options, Woodbridge Winery, Del Monte’s Bloom energy drink and the San Francisco Examiner.

In the case of Round Table, which had yet to sign a contract with Maiden Lane, the client owns the idea the shop pitched to win the business. “The campaign we presented was not a spec campaign, but something that they’d planned to produce,” Gardner said. “They still might produce it elsewhere.”

Neither Round Table nor Del Monte returned calls.

According to sources, some other key executives at Maiden Lane, including CCO John Maxham, have decided to start a new shop called Rumble/SF. Maxham could not be reached for comment.