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Ad agencies come in all shapes, sizes

By Staff
LEADING EDGES – The Leading Edges advertising agency is downtown in a larger office building. Matthew Umphlett, left, a graphic designer, uses a new computer to get his work done as Tony Boutwell, creative director, looks on. Leading Edges is one of a half-dozen ad agencies in Meridian. PHOTO BY WILLIAM F. WEST / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By William F. West / community editor
September 28, 2002
The old saying "It's all in a name" seems to be a new sales pitch for some of Meridian's advertising agencies these days.
Tony Pompelia said he chose Leading Edges as the name of his agency because he wanted to have a talented staff working in a cutting-edge business.
And Joel Johnson said the Jolting Designs name is a hybrid of his name and the name of his partner, Inga Bass.
Two other agencies, Cooke Communications and Design, led by Pace Cooke Emmons, and Hodges Advertising, led by Ellen Hodges, round out the roster of those in Meridian.
The agencies come in different sizes and with different histories.
Huff cites celebrities as friends and acquaintances, noting that her company once snapped a promotional photo of country superstar Alan Jackson. She cites a strong relationship with her clients as an asset.
Jones said she learned the importance of being a strong negotiator when seeking the best advertising rates for clients.
But she added: "I'm not here to get rich. I want to be able to support my family."
Working out of the home
Emmons, a mother of a 6- year-old daughter, is currently working out of her home, aided when needed by her proofreading husband, a former Kentucky newspaper reporter who owns Troy Laundry and Cleaners.
She also has a list of artists, designers and experts she can call on for assistance. Although her list of clients includes businesses, the list is dominated by governments and civic institutions.
Hodges for the last couple of years has been working out of her home and communicating by cell phone or pager.
Hodges said it is her job to shelter her clients from constant calls from news organizations.
New location
Pompelia is in charge of a 2-year-old agency. Earlier this year he and his team moved from a 2101 North Hills St. office to a more spacious 204 20th Ave. building.
For Johnson, his place of business is an Internet Web site.
Johnson said he started Jolting Designs as a hobby but said it has grown to include a sales representative who is dispatched to work both the Jackson and Meridian areas.