Carrie Rengers

One of the largest billboard companies nationally now has a Wichita office

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Ashby, we hardly knew ya.

Ashby St. Outdoor, an Arkansas-based billboard company that entered the Wichita market in 2016, has sold to Baton Rouge-based Lamar Advertising for an undisclosed price.

“It was the right time to . . . make an exit,” says Jim Matalone, CEO of the 8-year-old Ashby.

“We’ve really enjoyed our time in Wichita,” he says. “Everybody there was so nice.”

Lamar is one of the three-largest outdoor advertising companies nationally. Nationally and in Canada, it has more than 150,000 billboard “faces” — each side of a billboard is a face — 600 of which used to belong to Ashby in Wichita.

Ashby’s total inventory was about 1,900 faces.

Lamar will retain all of Ashby’s dozen Wichita employees and name a new general manager.

The purchase gives Lamar, a publicly traded company, its first Wichita office. Its Topeka office had been operating its billboards here.

“We see Wichita and the surrounding area as an attractive market,” says Buster Kantrow, Lamar’s vice president of business development.

“These are terrific assets that have been well managed,” he says. “We’re eager to get to manage them ourselves.”

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