Entrepreneur Cindy Allen is selling her downtown-based advertising and marketing firm Agency ETA to Blume Media Group Inc., which has plans to expand the local operation.
Allen, 52, founded ETA in 2005, and created what’s been hailed as one of the fastest growing independent advertising agencies in Southern California, with an award-winning portfolio from industry sectors that include local government, transportation, newspapers and retail as well as national names in real estate and entertainment.
But after nearly 15 years, the innovative businesswoman said she received the right offer from the right company and decided it was time for her to move on to the next phase in her life.
“I’m super excited Blume bought the company,” she said. “I love their company and culture and it’s just such a good fit. Something that was important to me in selling the business: I wanted to make sure that whoever bought this was going to keep the office in Long Beach. Not only are they going to do that, but they are going to expand it and keep jobs in our own backyard.”
Allen said she couldn’t be more proud of how she built ETA from scratch and brought it to where it is today, and she said she has complete faith and confidence that she’s leaving it in good hands.
As to what the Second District resident plans to do next, Allen said she isn’t ready to share all the details, but she does have plans to travel more with her husband, a police officer who she’s been married to for 25 years.
What she can say is that she’s staying in Long Beach.
Allen grew up in Long Beach and got her education at Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach. And, Allen is a former detective with the Long Beach Police Department, where she was one of the first women to work in that role in the gang detail, which included undercover operations. She left her career in law enforcement after being injured on the job.
“I had high hopes,” she said. “I joke that I'd be chief of police by now if I hadn’t gotten hurt.”
But she couldn’t just look at her badge and cry about what she’d lost, Allen said. She went back to school for her master’s degree and redefined herself, and the result was ETA.
Some of the work she’s most proud of, Allen said, includes water conservation campaigns for Long Beach and other water departments; the longtime relationship she’s built with homebuilder DR Horton; work she did with NBCUniversal; and ETA’s five-year ownership of the Long Beach Post.
Allen, a breast cancer survivor, also currently serves as a commissioner for the Los Angeles County Small Business Commission and has been actively involved in many professional and charitable organizations.
She declined to either confirm or deny whether she is considering a run for the Second District City Council seat.
“I can tell you this much about the next phase of my life… I’ve always been focused on public service, and I’m at a stage in my life where that is really important to me no matter what I do,” she said. “I want to do something in public service.”
Taking over ETA’s client list, Los Angeles-based Blume Media has plans to make Long Beach a ﬂagship studio as part of a larger global strategy to expand its digital media capabilities across the nation.
Blume Live Media and Blume Studios President & CEO Zak Stroud said, “We’ve been fans of Agency ETA’s work — and clients love them. When we started talking with Agency ETA’s founder Cindy Allen, it was clear that we will reach our goals faster by acquiring Agency ETA.”
Allen will help transition the business, but she will no longer have any ownership in the agency. Adam Carrillo, a key member of Agency ETA, will continue to lead the team as Executive Vice President for Blume Studios.
All of Agency ETA’s full-time and freelance employees were expected to join Blume Studios, Stroud said.
“We’ve set out to become an innovator in 21st Century creative capabilities…” he said. “Acquiring Agency ETA gives us an opportunity to build upon that approach and reach our shared goal of scaling existing clients and expanding our offerings to attract new ones. We couldn’t be more excited to work with this team to do just that.”