Equity Creative is Kenosha County Small Business of the Year

Equity Creative

Industry: Marketing and communications

Address: 9522 58th Place, Suite 800, Kenosha

Employees: 30

Equity Creative was founded in Dean Helmke’s basement in April 2007 and initially had two employees – Helmke and co-founder Charles Skendziel.

Today, the Kenosha marketing and communications firm has 30 employees in a 4,500-square-foot space in the Business Park of Kenosha, with renovation underway on a 7,000-square-foot expansion.

“We’re basically taking up the space right next door,” Helmke said. “We are adding more work stations. (Employees will) have space to perform photography and video production. We’ll have more storage space and we’ll have a little bit more common space.”

Equity Creative recently received the Kenosha County Small Business of the Year Award at the Kenosha County Business Excellence Awards presented by the Kenosha Area Business Alliance and the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce. The award honors a business that has fewer than 30 employees and has been in business for more than three years.

The firm has gained large southeastern Wisconsin clients like Summerfest, Alverno College, Yamaha and Chrysler through hard work, a great creative product and a focus on customer service, Helmke said.

Equity offers strategy/planning, design, advertising, brand identity, content, motion, interactive, digital/social, photography and event services. It doesn’t confine itself to one industry, but seeks out a diverse client base in Wisconsin and elsewhere, he said.

The company has doubled its revenue since 2011, Helmke said. It has also hired about six employees in the past year, one of which manages internal technology.

Helmke is working on strengthening the digital side of the company to provide more website and online advertising applications for clients.

“The core of what we’ve offered has been the same whether we were two employees or 30,” Helmke said. “We just continue to strive to try to be better at it.”

Equity strives to understand the challenges that its clients face and efficiently perform both daily and yearly marketing and communication needs.

“We just approach each project or each assignment with a set of business objectives or goals,” Helmke said. “We approach them in an intellectual way and make sure we have a sound strategy in place and then execute at a very high level creatively.”

More companies are looking at adding mobile marketplace and social media services to their digital suites, Helmke said. Equity has led the way in building custom applications for clients and encouraging digital innovation.

He expects to hire about four people in the next year if the company continues on its growth trend. And continuing to grow is one of the company’s key goals.

“I think we’d like to continue to provide value to our current clients but also continue to diversify our client base and who we’re working with,” Helmke said. “To be honored by our local community for what we’re doing is very important to us. There’s a certain sense of pride, by myself and Charles, in doing business locally.”

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