Howerton & White agency to celebrate big renovation, 10th anniversary

When clients visit Howerton & White advertising agency in downtown Wichita, they have an unusual option for descending from the second floor.

They can use a 30-foot stainless steel slipper slide.

“Unless I have something in my hand, I don’t ever go down the stairs,” said Nicole Howerton, principal and creative director of the agency.

The slide adds a playfulness to the agency and represents its philosophy of balance in the workplace.

“We work really, really hard,” Howerton said. “We want to be able to work and play.”

On Thursday, the agency will celebrate the completion of an extensive renovation and expansion of its office at 520 E. Douglas with an 11 a.m. ribbon cutting. The renovation of 3,000 square feet of space on the second level doubled the office space available for use.

The agency also is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The expansion was needed to accommodate the agency’s steady growth over the past decade. When Howerton & White moved into the current location eight years ago, it had a staff of four. It now employs 19.

“We were back-to-back and squeezed in,” Howerton said.

The $600,000 renovation is a commitment to the agency and to downtown Wichita, an area that’s evolving into a district for the arts, Howerton said.

Renovating the building, built in 1889 by two brothers, had some odd challenges, from replacing old wiring to fitting in the slipper side.

Now, the second level features a massive wall of windows with views of Douglas, customized modern lighting, a long, sleek orange work station, individual work stations and a conference room complete with a working garage door on one end.

“It creates a really nice working space for everyone,” Howerton said.

The agency was founded in 2002 by Howerton and Ken White, its interactive director, to provide website design and programming services.

In 2004, the two brought in Bryan Malone, creative director and broadcast director, and Melody Mynatt, an account executive, and became a full-service agency.

Its clients are diversified in a variety of industries, such as medical, industrial, aviation and financial.

Howerton & White is the city’s fifth largest advertising agency.

Last year, it had record capitalized billings of $15.3 million.

In the future, it plans to stay a midsize agency.

Still, “we are looking to grow and stretch our legs,” Malone said.