Agency Makes Moving Into Old Department Store Cool

Cool and ad agencies have had a long, intertwined relationship. On the one hand, agencies are at the forefront of culture and often have a hand in defining what's cool. On the other hand, and in relation to that first bit, agencies can also take missteps in their development of cool and end up chasing cool -- which just ends up making them look dumb.

One agency in Lewiston, Maine is playing the cool game. They are moving their offices into the 13,000-square-foot space previously occupied by W.T. Grant, a department store that at one time had 1,000 stores in 40 states. The press release asks "Is there anything cooler than a full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency working out of an early 1900s downtown department store?"

Well, maybe. Or maybe not. Agencies have certainly done stranger things and claimed they were dubbed cool.

Rinck has always had a home in downtown Lewiston-Auburn, where its 35 full-time employees and 20 part-time event staff provide advertising, marketing and public relations services to clients in New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas and England. Client industries range from consumer packaged goods and health and beauty products, to higher education and financial services, transportation, healthcare and non-profits. The agency opened an office in Annapolis, Maryland, in January, and has hired 21 employees in the past two years.



The new Rinck headquarters is said to have a full creative suite, a commercial test kitchen for use with food and beverage clients, a sound room for audio recording, and a second-floor meeting space made to look like a shipping container (uh, overkill alarm!). In addition, the new space will accommodate a fully staffed content studio because, well, content is the jam these days, right?

Of the agency's approach. Rinck President Laura Davis said, "Rinck prides itself on importing creative work from all over Maine, the United States and Europe to Lewiston. We've attracted this business by developing cutting edge brand strategies and technological digital marketing solutions for our clients. In 2009, social media changed everything. And now, in the Post-Organic Era, we believe the Agency of the Future will not only broker influence but develop compelling native content that builds brands, consumer advocacy and, of course, sales. Our new Content Studio team of talented creators, writers, social media specialists and influencers will chart this course for our clients."

Angling toward an even more cool factor, the first-floor reception area will have stadium seating facing a small stage for Rinck presentations or entertainment during Art Walk Lewiston Auburn events. The original department store's wooden stairs from the first floor to the basement will be refurbished along with the original wood flooring on the second floor.

The department store was built around 1930 by Dan Wellehan, father of Lamey-Wellehan shoe store chain President Jim Wellehan. The building is owned by 113 Lisbon Street, LLC. Rinck has agreed to a long-term lease with Jim Wellehan.

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