Eric Rob & Isaac
City: Little Rock
Category: Category I (1-25 Employees)
The agency's principals — Eric Lancaster, Rob Bell and Isaac Alexander — held jobs at separate agencies, and on hearing that First Security Bancorp of Searcy wanted a small agency to create its campaigns, the three took a chance.
Lancaster, Bell and Alexander spent their first year working exclusively for First Security, for which they created a cohesive brand. The agency then began growing business outside First Security, operating from its office above the Flying Fish restaurant in Little Rock's River Market District.
"When we formed as a group, our vision from Day One was to start our own advertising firm," Lancaster said. "I guess it's just like anyone who decides to strike out on their own: We wanted to do things a little differently."
Four years on, the agency is debt-free and has a list of 50 clients, including KKPT-FM, 94.1, Riverfest and Doe's Eat Place. First Security remains the agency's largest client, but the trio has managed to find other revenue sources.
"It's strange. We feel extremely blessed, but you also just realize that there are so many businesses out there that start up and don't last," Lancaster said.
All three partners are in their early 30s, but they remain as conservative as many businessmen much older. Although revenue has grown, Eric Rob & Isaac has refrained from taking on extra employees, with only about 10 people currently on the payroll.
The three do not want their firm to become a behemoth.
"I think we kind of enjoy the underdog and stealth attack that being a smaller firm affords us," Lancaster said. "We don't aspire to be the largest firm in Arkansas. We're comfortable with who we are."