LEWISTON — In the two years since moving to Lewiston from Windham, marketing firm Anchour has grown from eight employees to 19, rebranded local businesses like Forage, Fuel, DaVinci’s Eatery, Fish Bones American Grill and Dirigo Federal Credit Union, and continued to grow its national roster.
The 5-year-old company, which expanded its presence at 223 Lisbon St. last year, has worked with Apple, Garth Brooks and Hewlett Packard.
“I think moving here was one of the best, if not the best, decisions we’ve made as a company,” said CEO Stephen Gilbert, who was one of four founders back in 2013. “It’s been helpful for us to grow with the businesses around here and learn from some great business people here.”
Gilbert said half of its work is inside Maine, half outside. Two years ago, about 80 percent of clients were mostly one-project jobs, companies that needed new websites, packaging, logos or social media help.
“Now it’s almost the opposite,” he said, with an ongoing relationship with most clients.
Conversations often start, “‘I need a new website because I need more business,'” Gilbert said. But on hearing that, it’s time for a deep dive: “Why do you need more business? Is it because your service isn’t good enough? Because nobody knows about your product? Because your product, who you’re selling it to, is the totally wrong audience? We like to ask those questions before we (get to), ‘Sure, we’ll whip together a website in 48 hours.’ It’s about making people money at the end of the day.”
President Josh Pritchard said Anchour’s focused on businesses with between $1 million and $40 million in annual revenue as the level where they feel like they can have the most impact on the bottom line.
“We found our sweet spot is when they are a relatively established business or they just have the capital to invest in that because they’ll see a return on that investment really quickly,” Gilbert said. “The business owner just wants to know how much money did you make me and how much money did I pay you and is it fun to work with you and is this worth my investment? If we can break it down into those simple terms — and obviously have all the transparent data to back it up — we’re doing our job.”
A lot of work has come through word of mouth, Pritchard said. What started with one client in Santa Barbara, California, has grown to a handful there and led to a week-long visit last week.
“Word about us is starting to spread in that area because of what we’re doing with a small hub,” he said. “There are so many resemblances to where we were two years ago in this market. Now we can use our experience that we’ve gotten here in Lewiston in other places.”
Despite the tight job market, Anchour’s attracted new hires from Nashville, Seattle, New York City and Massachusetts, hiring positions like web developers, designers, a writer, project manager and account managers.
Pritchard believes the draw is Anchour’s office culture and “extremely competitive benefits. We pay people their value on a national basis,” he said.
A little over a year ago, Anchour expanded into available space when another business left 223 Lisbon St., added a wall and new flooring, built out the office and took over and extended the lease.
“We’re busting at the seams” for space, Pritchard said, and looking at options.
Nondisclosure agreements prevent them from talking about the work done for corporate clients like Apple and Garth Brooks.
Closer to home, Anchour has worked with Hebert Construction, Baxter Brewing Co., several eateries and Agren Appliance, which Pritchard said played a big part in helping Anchour establish its name locally.
President Jason Agren said the work started with a few specific projects and evolved to having Anchour manage most of its marketing.
“The difference Anchour’s work has made for our business has been obvious,” he said. “We’re growing much faster than retail businesses on a national level, and we certainly attribute a lot of that success to great digital and traditional marketing.”
Pritchard said it’s been a thrill to walk into DaVinci’s and order off a menu they designed, or see Forage expand into Portland and “their Portland location is now mirroring that new rebrand, which is a point of pride for us, to walk next door, get a bagel, ‘These are the menus, the logo, whatever that may be (that we helped with),’ that’s pretty special.”
The firm also donated time to the new Downtown Lewiston Association helping it develop a logo, font and color palette.
“The difference between a great place to be and not a great place to be is really the economy in that city and the business and things to do,” said Gilbert. “If we can improve Lewiston and Auburn and drive more people here, it benefits everybody.”
Anchour president Josh Pritchard, left, and CEO Stephen Gilbert. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Anchour moved to Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston from Windham in 2016. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)