Plano-based Aardvark Communications and Colleyville-based Miller Public Relations have merged. The two firms, which will operate as Aardvark Communications, were engaged in merger discussions for several months, Aardvark President David Alvey told D CEO.
“For the past 30 years, Aardvark Communications has been very successful in marketing and public relations,” Alvey said. “With advances in technology, the industry continues to change and evolve. We have been exploring opportunities to add services for our clients. The timing of this opportunity was perfect for both entities. We are excited about the expanded creative services, digital marketing, and social media expertise our new team members bring to our agency.”
Aardvark’s clients include Park Place Dealerships, Sundance Square, Susser Bank, Northwestern Mutual, and more. Miller Public Relations has primarily focused on the medical and wellness communities, including Mann Eye Institute, Carter Eye Center of Dallas, and Collins Vision in Naples-Fort Myers.
Miller Public Relations founder, Cyndi Miller, will serve as a consultant to Aardvark Communications. Following the merger, Aardvark will house 11 employees. For the immediate future, the companies will continue to operate out of their respective headquarters, but Alvey says the two offices will eventually consolidate. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Our agencies were built on very similar principles,” Alvey said. “Our client mix is very diverse, and there are many new services that the merger affords us that will benefit all of our clients. When we met the team at MPR, we knew this was going to be a great fit for everyone. They are all extremely talented with a wealth of experience.”
California-based TOCA Football has become the United States’ largest operator of indoor soccer facilities, following a partnership with four Blue Sky Sports Centers in North Texas. This partnership comes on the heels of TOCA’s announcement of plans to bring its gamified competitive ‘eatertainment’ complex, TOCA Social, to Dallas’ Design District in 2023.
The four Blue Sky Sports Centers in Allen, Carrollton, Keller, and The Colony range in size from 39,000 to 55,000 square feet. TOCA plans to introduce its proprietary training technology at each facility and implement a new TOCA Strikers program that introduces young kids to soccer.
The company plans to partner with an additional 20 soccer centers in key US markets by the end of 2022 and open three TOCA Social entertainment venues in 2023—in Dallas; Birmingham, England; and Edinburgh, Scotland.
“Dallas has a strong soccer and entertainment culture, and we are committed to building enduring relationships in this community,” Yoshi Maruyama, TOCA Football CEO, said. “Becoming the largest operator of indoor soccer centers in North America is an important milestone, but TOCA has a greater mission, to inspire everyone to play the beautiful game and to be an integral and indispensable part of global soccer.”
Genesis Women’s Shelter Will Get a New Child Care Center
National advertising services company January Digital donated $100,000 to build the January Childcare Center at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support in Dallas as part of January’s Good Works program, which combines donations, volunteering, and long-term support to have an impact on the community. To date, the corporation has given more than $250,000.
The childcare center will be part of Genesis Children’s Trauma Counseling Center, a new facility set to open in 2023. The childcare center will provide children who have experienced abuse a safe environment, where January Digital’s employees can also volunteer. The facility will offer childcare specialists and January Digital volunteers a program including individual counseling, parent-child attachment therapy, and a portfolio of child-specific therapy options.
“We see this holistic approach as the future of corporate gifting,” Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis Women’s Shelter, said. “To have long-term partners who develop a program inclusive of building an infrastructure to support financial gifts and volunteer hours provides a more meaningful impact, not only for our donors but, most importantly, for our clients.”
Michigan Marketing Agency Spark Expands Into Texas
Founded in 2017 as Dreaming Out Loud, marketing agency Spark—which made the switch to its new name this year—has launched operations in North Texas. The agency, which specializes in brand consulting, video production, and digital marketing, is on a mission to “spark prosperity for generosity.”
“DFW is unique for Spark because it’s a growing market and with overarching values that focus on the family. I believe the type of messaging and storytelling my company develops for brands will be a perfect fit in this area,” founder and CEO Mukwenda Kandole said.
The company currently serves 14 clients and has previously worked with brands such as Fox, TBN, Keller Williams, and 1DayLA. Under Spark’s guidance, Michigan-based Schoenherr Roofing, a Spark client, increased yearly revenue from $2 million to $6 million and “increased phone calls by 329 in 12 months with a significant increase in closed deals,” Kandole told D CEO.
In 2022, Kandole says he has more clients in the pipeline and expects to increase revenue “by at least 75 to 100 percent compared to last year.” Texas is the second state into which the company has expanded.
Fort Worth-based Elevate Launches New Online Credit Score Platform
After analyzing 12 million credit reports from TransUnion, Fort Worth-based Elevate launched a new online platform which helps consumers learn about financial wellness and credit scores. The website is designed for those with a credit score below 700.
“This is a website for people who have struggled in the past, and it’s designed to give people a way forward,” Jonathan Walker, executive director of Elevate’s Center for the New Middle Class said. “We hope that a lot of people will look to it as a constructive place to give them suggestions on finding progress and learning more about how they work with money and improving their lives.”
The new platform includes three new tools. The Money Mindfulness tool has users answer questions to provide a unique report about their values and offers financial suggestions based on the report. The Road to Results tool allows people to see other people’s anonymized credit files over time, offering examples of how those people improved their credit scores. Finally, the Score40 tool has people answer questions about their credit score to advise them on ways they can improve their credit score by 40 points.
“That 40 points is really important because if you can move your credit score 40 points, you immediately move into a better credit bracket,” Walker said.
Some other aspects of the website are the Knowledge Center, which includes relevant resources for users, and Financial Solutions, which includes credit score resources.
Ben Swanger is the assistant editor for D CEO, the business title for D Magazine. Ben manages the Dallas 500…