HMS Adds Hovel, Builds Retail Muscle

In an effort to supplement its retail capabilities, HMS Partners has acquired in-store planning and design agency Hovel Group and merged it with its Minneapolis office.
The resulting shop, which has yet to be named, will provide a full range of services for its retail clients, from print and broadcast advertising to in-store design and sales promotion. It will remain a part of HMS Partners, based in Columbus, Ohio.
Hovel owners Debra and Richard Hovel will become the shop’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, respectively.
Former HMS/Minneapolis president Tim Pearson will serve as chief executive officer, focusing on new business and account services.
The merger gives HMS the ability to serve its retail clients through each step of a consumer’s shopping experience, Pearson said.
“Now we can drive them into the store [with advertising] and when they get through the doors they can hear the same message,” he said.
The two agencies initially came together two years ago to work on a back-to-school campaign for Target Stores, a division of Minneapolis-based Dayton-Hudson, Pearson said. That joint project and others went well, and about a year ago the principals of both agencies began discussing a possible merger.
“We have had a wonderful working relationship,” Debra Hovel said. “This merger was simply a natural evolution.”
The agency will work out of the original shops’ two offices until a common space is ready later this year.
HMS/Minneapolis announced its intent last year to acquire $7 million creative shop Pete Smith Advertising. That deal fell through over “strategic differences,” Pearson said.