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Ad agency plans larger quarters Gelia Wells & Mohr acquired one-man research firm in Hamburg

A Clarence-based advertising firm has announced its purchase of a one-man marketing research operation and its plans to expand into a bigger building.

"We want to develop a center of excellence," said Jamey Phipps, president of Gelia Wells & Mohr at 11342 Main St. "We'd love to be able to have companies from across the country come to Western New York."

His vision for the future was helped by the October purchase, for an undisclosed sum, of Woelfel Research Partners, formerly of Hamburg. The deal allowed Gelia to buy the client list that former president Chuck Woelfel cultivated during his four years on his own.

Woelfel, now Gelia's new vice president of marketing intelligence, works with focus groups testing product concepts and business strategy.

For example, if a firm wanted to start selling a new kind of riding lawn mower, Woelfel could study the market to see if there was a need and how much people would be willing to spend.

"You could conceivably design a product that does not fit their needs. That would be bad," he said of the hypothetical example. "We can guide them along that process."

The 46-year-old Gelia Wells firm employs about 85 people and specializes in broadcast and print advertising campaigns for businesses selling to other businesses. Already about 80 of the firm's clients are out of state. Promoting power generators for Peoria-based Caterpillar is one such account.

About 40 percent of the firm's clients market to general consumer clients. The insurer Independent Health is one: Gelia Wells staff created the billboards now posted around the Buffalo area that feature a boy riding a go-kart with the phrase, "Roll with the best."

Gelia, which reported $8 million in revenue last year, is considering whether to expand at its current address or move somewhere else in the Buffalo area. "We've got big plans," said Phipps. "Right now we're exploring."

e-mail: mkearns@buffnews.com

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