W.B. Doner Is Among Those Venture Owes

Venture Stores last week filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, listing agency W.B. Doner & Co. in Southfield, Mich., as one company to which it owes money.
According to the O’Fallon, Mo.-based retailer’s bankruptcy petition, Doner is owed $1.9 million, the fifth- largest claim among the company’s unsecured debts.
Alan Kalter, Doner’s CEO, said the $1.9 million is actually owed to more than 70 TV and radio stations that aired Venture advertising last year. His agency is owed less than $100,000 in production expenses, he said.
Doner will continue to work with Venture if the court accepts the reorganization plan, Kalter said. Doner has handled the company’s broadcast advertising for three years. Venture handles print creative and media buying in-house.
Venture’s advertising plans are unaffected by the Chapter 11 proceedings, said Tina Schneider, its manager of marketing communications. Venture only uses broadcast advertising during the fourth quarter, she said. This past year’s broadcast spending was scaled back, since the company re-edited previously run spots, she added. The retailer spent $18.7 million on advertising in the first 10 months of 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Since March 1996, Venture has been implementing a major program to reposition the company’s stores from a general merchandise discount format to a new family-value retail concept.
The repositioning included the introduction of a new ad tagline from Doner: “See what’s new for you.”
The new format focuses on offering an assortment of high-quality home, family and leisure merchandise at low prices, according to Robert Wildrick, the company’s president and CEO.
The company operates 93 Venture stores and nine Dollar stores in nine states in the Midwest and the Southwest.