Cravit Closes, Levitz to Move

By Trevor Jensen

CHICAGO–Levitz Furniture in Boca Raton, Fla., said it will reveal this week plans for its estimated $25 million broadcast account following the closing of incumbent agency David Cravit & Associates here.

Unable to pick up a client to cover the loss last year of the Montgomery Ward account, chief executive officer David Cravit shuttered his shop last week and looked on as the once strong agency’s remaining assets were parceled out to creditors by an outside liquidator.

The agency resigned Ward in the midst of the retailer’s review for its consolidated $50 million account (ultimately awarded to DDB Needham Chicago) in order to take on Levitz, said Cravit. ‘We felt that with Levitz and some other new business, we could cover the billings.’ But, he said, that did not happen, leading Cravit to hold merger or acquisition discussions with other Chicago shops.

Those negotiations were unsuccessful, leaving 30 staffers unemployed and a handful of clients, including Levitz, looking for a new agency. Other Cravit clients included Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Heller Financial in Chicago, the Delta region of Kroger’s supermarkets and Cash ‘N Carry stores of Tampa, Fla.

Cravit plans to join former Ward executive Gene McCaffery in a new operation called Marketing Advocates, which plans to represent stars and help agencies book celebrities, he said.

Cravit opened his agency in March 1992 and in late 1994 absorbed Campbell Mithun Esty’s Chicago office. Billings reached a high of $96 million in 1995, with a staff of 80.

–with Jim Osterman

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED