Harrisburg marketing firm files bankruptcy

Merit Marketing, a Harrisburg-based advertising and marketing firm, filed last month for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, setting it on a path to liquidation.

  • “The economic times are such the company is unable to survive and operate profitably,” Merit owner Adam Vasquez wrote in an email to biznewsPA.
  • Vasquez has owned the company since 2015, when the firm was known as Sacunas. He purchased it from its founder, Nancy Sacunas. 
  • Vasquez changed the name to Merit in 2017 as he sought to grow the firm. In 2016, the firm purchased Harrisburg-based digital marketing and branding company Freefall.
  • In addition to Harrisburg, the company had employees in Boston, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Washington, D.C. It announced a merger in January with Falk Public Relations Group in Milwaukee.

What’s the debt: In court filings, the company lists secured debt of slightly more than $2.6 million and unsecured debt of nearly $742,000.

  • The chief secured creditors are the U.S. Small Business Administration, which is owed $2 million, and Shippensburg-based Orrstown Bank, which is owed early $484,000.
  • Orrstown CFO Neel Kalani declined to comment. An SBA spokesperson also declined to comment, citing longstanding agency policy.
  • The remaining secured debt of about $132,000 is with a cash-advance company called Sutton Funding.
  • Court filings list total assets for Merit of $37,372.39.
  • Office furniture, fixtures and equipment account for $20,000 of the total, followed by nearly $17,000 in accounts receivable. The remainder is in cash.

What’s next: Two former employees of Merit have launched a new marketing agency called 51Group.

  • Founders of the remote-first firm are Jessica Wolfe in Harrisburg and Denise Kohnke, based in Milwaukee.
  • They employ a third former Merit staffer in Boston.

Editor’s note: This story was updated from its original version to include comments from the SBA.


Gladly Sponsored By:

More Central PA News

Podcast: Inclusive hiring

When Michael Coy joined Wolfgang Confectioners as its workforce development manager, the candy maker employed about five people who spoke Spanish. Now, the Loganville-based company

Read More »