A&P Commission sticks with Sells Agency, Eason Insurance

The Fayetteville A&P Commission will continue using the Sells Agency for its advertising firm, the group decided during its September meeting on Monday. The commission also agreed to stay with the same insurance broker it has been using.

Four other Arkansas agencies responded to the open bid in August and submitted materials for the $520,000 annual account including 4209 Creative (Lowell), Elkins Design (Bentonville), EXIT Marketing (Little Rock), and Lady Luck Creative (Rogers).

The odds were stacked against the competing firms from the beginning. None of the commissioners seemed interested in leaving the Sells Agency, not even Neal Crawford, who led the charge for opening up the bidding process.

“They’ve done a great job for us,” Crawford said last month. “It would be very easy to just continue on, but we don’t want other agencies to think this is a closed-door deal.”

With none of the proposals offering a lower rate than the Sells Agency, and with all of the other agencies being located outside Fayetteville, the commission members didn’t have to discuss the bids very long before voting to renew the three-year contract with Sells.

They’re all about the same. And if we go with Sells, we’re staying local.

— Mayor Lioneld Jordan

“They’re all about the same,” said Fayetteville mayor and commission member Lioneld Jordan, speaking of the hourly rates. “And if we go with Sells, we’re staying local.”

Commissioner Bob Davis agreed. “We need to take care of Fayetteville,” Davis said. “Those sales tax dollars will stay here in the community and they’ll continue to work themselves over multiple times.”

Others stressed how satisfied they’ve been with Sells since the commission first selected the agency in 2001.

“I’ve been here eight years and their work just gets better and better,” said Allyson Twiggs Dyer of the Fayetteville Visitors Bureau. “It’s easy for a company to rest on its laurels, but they always surprise us.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Sells has done a phenomenal job,” said Crawford. “But we need to always have checks and balances. When this comes back up we should always RFP it.”

“I’m glad we went through this process,” said Jordan. “I think that every so often we need to look at what’s available to us and see if we can get a benefit. If we can’t, then we’ll just stay with what we have.”

In other business, the commission voted to stay with Eason Insurance for its $11,917 annual insurance broker contract.

Commission Director Marilyn Heifner said she placed two ads requesting proposals for the insurance contract in a newspaper, but received no response other than a renewal bid from Eason.

Eason Insurance is owned by commissioner Bob Davis.