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Local ad agency expands

Gazette-Times reporter

A local ad shop is broadening its horizons with a Portland office and a view toward still more expansion.

Sanda Communications, an integrated marketing communications firm with offices in the Business Enterprise Center, made its first foray into the Portland market in March, when it opened a field office in space shared with PenMetrics, a subsidiary of a Corvallis client.

In October, the firm leased space of its own in the Pendleton Building at 222 N.W. Broadway. Sanda had been considering a Beaverton address but decided on the downtown location to be part of a burgeoning cluster of design and marketing houses that Portland officials are billing as "the Creative Services District."

"We're kind of at the epicenter of the new creative services area," said Jerry Saveriano, Sanda's president and CEO. "It's a sweet place to be."

Saveriano, who supervises the business side of the firm, has been spending about two days a week at the Portland office.

His partner, vice president and creative director Scott McCannell, has been making the trip up Interstate 5 and back once a week.

After starting small, Sanda has begun beefing up the Portland operation.

"We've got 1,400 square feet, which we've already filled up, and we have another 3,000 adjacent that we'll be moving into in April," Saveriano said.

For now, there are seven employees in the Portland office and 10 in Corvallis, but plans call for growth at both sites and gradually shifting the firm's administrative functions to Portland, Saveriano said.

"We're adding one to two people a month," he said. "By the end of the year, Portland will be around 20 people, and we should be around 15 here."

Saveriano has no doubt there will be plenty for those new people to do.

"We are overwhelmed with work. We are completely crushed," he said.

"Even with the dot-com implosion - what they're calling dot-bomb - there's more work than we can handle," said Saveriano.

Since setting up shop in Corvallis three years ago, Sanda has supplied advertising, marketing and public relations services to a stable of local high-tech clients. Some of the Corvallis companies on the roster are Tripod Data Systems, which makes software for surveying equipment and related applications; Kalatel, a maker of closed-circuit television security systems; and Green Pasture Software, which develops document-management applications.

The firm's Portland-area client list includes Infinity Softworks, a Beaverton developer of calculator software for the Palm Pilot handheld organizer; and another Beaverton outfit, vitamin distributor Longevity Labs.

But Sanda's grand design doesn't stop at moving its corporate headquarters to Portland. According to Saveriano, that's just the beginning.

"Our objective is to have offices up and down the West Coast," he said.

The company's business plan calls for full-service "Sanda Centers" in cities such as Portland and San Diego. It also envisions smaller offices, such as the one in Corvallis, in other places where Sanda has clients. The idea is to link the whole company together via the Internet.

"By linking the small offices with the Sanda Centers using broadband communications, we'll be able to get the advantages of a big office without the overhead," Saveriano said. "The creative people like it because it's always a small-shop model."

The company has already identified its next expansion target: San Luis Obispo, Calif. Sanda plans to open an office in San Luis by the end of the year.

Why there?

"Because I like it," said Saveriano, a California transplant. "It's like Corvallis with sunshine and surfing.

Bennett Hall covers business for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 758-9529 or


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