Effective July 1, Asher has been purchased by its President Kara Kelley, CFO Megan Bennett, and Ash Crest Corp., a single family office with a diverse portfolio of debt and equity investments. Kelley and Bennett will hold majority ownership, with Ash Crest serving as a minority equity investor and advisor. Asher was previously owned by Eastport Holdings, which purchased the agency from Tim and Tom Borne in 2014.
Asher has operated an office in Charleston since 2014 after acquiring The Arnold Agency, and it also has offices in Washington, DC, and Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has a long history of serving clients in the Mountain State and beyond, including Charleston YWCA, City National Bank, Mister Bee Potato Chips, New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, Concord University, Appalachian Headwaters, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia University at Parkersburg, Mon Health Medical Center Foundation, the State of Montana, and Fantastic Sams Cut & Color.
Steve Morrison, General Manager and Vice President of Asher’s Charleston office, is a strong proponent of the new ownership model. “The past eight years have been an exciting time for Asher here in Charleston. As we start our next chapter, we couldn’t be more pleased about the opportunities this change creates for our continued growth in West Virginia, the clients we serve and the talented members of our team who make it all possible.”
Kelley says the purchase represents a return to Asher’s roots as an independent agency, and opens exciting new possibilities for its employees, clients, and partners. “Last spring, I approached Eastport and asked if they would consider an offer to buy back Asher,” Kelley said. “To Eastport’s credit, they were very open to the idea of Asher once again becoming independently operated and taking on a new position as female owned. We are thrilled that this dream is becoming a reality, thanks to our partners at Ash Crest.”
Asher will retain all its employees and expects no changes in how it serves its clients and works with vendors. As the announcement has been shared with its internal team and others in recent days, Kelley says the response has been unanimously positive.
“Our employees are thrilled, our clients are supportive, and our vendors are committed to continuing to help us succeed,” she says. “It’s reflective of the great people we’re proud to work with, and of the reputation that Asher’s leadership team has built over the years.”
Founded in 1974, Asher Agency provides a full range of advertising, marketing and public relations services through its offices in Charleston, West Virginia; Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana. For more information, visit AsherAgency.com.