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SNS agency closes its Baltimore County office

A Baltimore County advertising agency with roots that date to the 1980s has closed and boxed up its offices in Owings Mills.

SNS Marketing, which was formed by the 2004 merger of Noble Steed Associates and Strategix Advertising Inc., informed clients and employees it closed Dec. 31. The agency had 24 employees.

The two companies, led by Don Mahaney and Brenda Shawley, merged after both had to lay off staffers. Noble Steed and Strategix had both started in the late 1980s.

“I had spoken to Don, we’re sorry to see them part,” Jim Plack, CEO of American Bank, one of SNS Marketing’s clients, said Tuesday.  “Hopefully they’ll re-emerge. I was probably their biggest fan.”

Plack had hired the agency for designing and creative services and to create a marketing campaign for the Bethesda-based community bank. Plack said he hasn’t yet started the search for an advertising agency replacement.

Among SNS Marketing’s more recent clients were Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland General Hospital, Hanover Hospital and Baltimore Washington Medical Center.

Mahaney, SNS’ chief executive, and other principals of the agency could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The agency’s office at 400 Red Brook Blvd. in Owings Mills was closed Tuesday. A spokesperson from David S. Brown Enterprises Ltd., the property’s manager, said the firm does not disclose information on tenants.

But other advertising firms in the Baltimore area said they are eager to pick up more employees, especially local residents.

MGH, an advertising and public relations firm in Owings Mills, has seven openings listed on its website. Positions include account executive, account director, Flash production artist, senior copywriter and Web developer.

Dave Imre, CEO of Imre Communications, said that while the Baltimore market was tough to recruit from, he sees the industry becoming stronger, so long as companies keep up with technology. Imre said his company grew 20 percent last year, though he would not disclose revenue numbers.

“It’s imperative to be forward thinking,” Imre said. “Companies are hoarding cash and they’re willing to spend if they’re shown a valuable proposition.”

Imre is looking to fill about six positions in account services, social media and creative services. Imre said he would look forward to recruiting SNS Marketing’s employees.

Noble Steed has developed a client base in financial services, government and the health care sectors, while Strategix specialized in serving higher education, pharmaceutical and food industries. Both companies also worked for a number of retail clients.

Noble Steed had developed a reputation for its creative work whereas Strategix was known for its management expertise. The firms’ four partners received equal stock ownership in the merged company.