Riester-Robb Expanding Into L.A., Salt Lake City

Continuing its expansion in the West, Phoenix-based Riester-Robb has acquired Utah ad agency Harris & Love and is opening an office in Los Angeles.

Riester established a Bay Area office last April, and expects its Santa Monica, Calif., outpost to emerge as a major West Coast player.

“We’ve hired a kick-ass general manager to head that office,” said agency president and CEO Tim Riester, referring to Barrie Lynn Krich. “Our plan is to become the leading independent agency in the Western region.”

Riester first dipped its toes in the L.A. market last year when it landed the California Department of Conservation’s $10 million Division of Recycling account. Following the review, Asher/Gal & Partners and other Los Angeles shops contested the win—claiming Riester-Robb’s lack of a California office disqualified it. But the win did eventually stand.

The L.A. office is scheduled to open its doors Feb. 12, staffed by about a half dozen new recruits. More hiring is expected in the coming weeks, Riester said.

Last week’s acquisition of Harris & Love brings Riester-Robb into Salt Lake City. The deal adds clients such as Deer Valley Ski Resort, the Utah Travel Council and Casino Arizona to the Riester-Robb roster, which already included the City of Flagstaff Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, the City of Tempe Transit and the Arizona Science Center.

Combined, the two shops have about 90 staffers and about $80 million in billings. No layoffs resulted from the merger. Harris & Love will now be known as Riester Robb Harris & Love.

“Their strengths were completely complimentary to ours,” Riester said. “Its interactive division’s philosophy matches the creative philosophy of our company.”

The timing has never been better, he added, to execute the agency’s expansion plan. “We were getting far in pitches outside of Arizona, but … when we didn’t win, it was usually because we weren’t large enough,” said Riester.