Firespring Merger

Ashley Kumpula talks with fellow employees of Firespring, Snitily Carr, 42 and Cornerstone Print & Marketing while enjoying a celebration party after their employers announced a merger Wednesday at Firespring. The businesses will eventually share the Firespring facility at 1201 Infinity Court.

MATT RYERSON / Lincoln Journal Star

Four local companies are teaming up to form the state's largest marketing firm.

Firespring, Cornerstone Print & Marketing, Snitily Carr and 42 announced Wednesday they are merging into one company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The companies will operate under their names until the end of May, at which point they will all come under the Firespring name and consolidate at Firespring's office at 1201 Infinity Court in southwest Lincoln.

The combined company will have about 210 employees, more than any other marketing company based in Nebraska, and will offer a range of services the company principals argue will rival those offered by any firm in the country.

"There's no other company anywhere that brings this amount of services under one roof," said Christopher Kingsley, founder of 42.

Kingsley's company is the upstart of the group, having emerged three years ago as a digital marketing agency and software firm that evolved from an earlier business that focused on digital photography.

Snitily Carr is more of a traditional marketing and public-relations agency, which, incidentally, celebrated its 23rd anniversary Wednesday.

Firespring provides digital marketing and other technology services to non-profit groups, while Cornerstone, which is owned by Firespring, provides traditional print and digital marketing services.

Firespring founder and CEO Jay Wilkinson said the company and Cornerstone had long-term plans to launch a creative agency that would compete with companies like Snitily Carr and 42.

Instead, the companies found themselves discussing the possibility of pooling all their talents and expertise together.

"Somewhere in this conversation it became apparent that there was just a perfect fit," Wilkinson said.

All management members from the four companies are staying on with the new companies, and all employees are being retained as well.

Kevin Thomas, CEO of Cornerstone, said the goal is to let each employee focus on what he or she does best.

"Our intent is to align people with where their skill sets are and allow them to home in on that specialty," he said.

Among the four firms, they've got an impressive roster of local and national clients, including Duncan Aviation, Cabela's and GE.   42 also has worked as a subcontractor on work for Union Pacific, Honeywell and Cargill.

Kingsley said the clients he's talked to are "unilaterally so excited" that they will have access to more services under one roof.

Dave Snitily of Snitily Carr said the merger will give the new company more opportunities to grow and expand.

"It will not be business as usual; it will be more business and more opportunities to showcase our abilities," he said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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