Larry Robb is passionate about growth. Whether it’s supporting his employees as they strive to reach higher, helping his clients increase their reach through innovative advertising strategies, or working with organizations in his community to make a positive impact, each day he’s driven to support the growth of others.
“Growth to me means nurturing,” says Larry. “The ability to watch something grow motivates and inspires me. And that same mentality applies to our clients and our people.” With growth at the forefront of each day, it only made sense to brand his advertising agency with that idea in mind. The result was FARM, LLC.
With 30 years of broadcasting and radio experience under his belt, Larry was looking for a new challenge in 2012 when he purchased SKM Group, a top advertising agency in the Western New York region. He rebranded the agency to FARM in 2015, completing its transformation from an advertising agency to an idea cultivation agency.
“Our philosophy is, the ‘big idea’ isn’t always the ‘right idea,” Larry explains. “In order to help our clients grow, we need to fully understand their business, its challenges, and what sets them apart in order to achieve their definition of success.”
As such, the agency takes a different approach to understanding and addressing its clients’ needs to foster growth. Founded in research and analytics, FARM’s approach utilizes actionable insights to inform strategic marketing recommendations for their clients, and they take the time to fully immerse themselves in the clients’ businesses to serve as a true, integrated partner.
“Understanding your client’s challenges and being able to provide the best solution is key to forming a lasting relationship, and maintaining those relationships is paramount to successful advertising and marketing,” says Larry. “I’ve found that when you focus on the relationship, you go from something that’s transactional to emotional, which is what forms meaningful connections.”
Under Larry’s leadership, FARM has been able to dive deeper into their clients’ needs and become a more client-centered agency with numerous additional services added to their mix, including, research, business intelligence, content and video marketing, and a digital marketing team.
“Not only do we focus on our clients’ marketing objectives, but also on their business objectives to ensure they’re aligned,” says Larry. “Ultimately, it’s our belief that FARM grows when our clients and employees grow, and our core values serve as the foundation for that success.”
It was an SBA program that originally allowed Larry to purchase the agency and continue to invest in its growth. “Since marketing agencies provide a service as opposed to a tangible product, our fixed assets are low, making it difficult to get funding,” he explains. “The SBA loan program allowed us to continue investing our cash flow in our people and clients, which led to our rapid growth.”
“Since I bought the business, we’ve nearly tripled in agency revenue,” says Larry. “We continue to hire the best and brightest not only because we want them here, but because they want to be here. For us it’s not about recruiting talent, it’s about attracting talent to be a part of something we feel is really special.”
As services have expanded, so has Larry’s team. With 35 employees when he first purchased the agency, FARM now employees more than 70 people.
FARM quickly began bursting at its seams in its original office that was leased in Depew, NY, and Larry knew he needed to take action to continue to nurture the agency’s growth. He found a new, larger location in Lancaster, NY that he could own rather than lease, and began to look for financing in 2016.
By working with Lake Shore Savings Bank and Pursuit, Larry was able to obtain an SBA 504 loan for the purchase of the new building and land, and to renovate to the space.
“Simply put, without the 504 loan, I wouldn’t have been able to purchase the building and we wouldn’t be where we are today,“ says Larry. “And as our businesses expand, we have continued to seek support from the SBA for our other ventures.”
Now with a 25,400 square foot campus on nearly 18 acres of land, FARM has ample room for growth and Larry is able to continue working on new ideas. He started two new businesses in 2019, Clarksburg Cider and Farm Properties, which will live on the same land as FARM. The cider will be produced in the former storage facility on the property, and some of the acreage will be used for orchard space to grow apples for some of the cider.
Larry’s impact reaches far beyond his business and the clients served by FARM. He frequently gives back to the Western New York community through monetary donations, agency resources, and his own time.
“Giving back to the community is rooted in my beliefs,” says Larry. From nonprofit educational institutions to cultural institutions and more, Larry has worked with organizations including the American Cancer Society, The Western New York Alzheimer’s Association, The John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, and the SPCA Serving Erie County, where he served as president for eight years.
Larry’s intuition has served him well from his transition from radio to advertising, to his agency’s rebrand and his expansion to new services and businesses. “I enjoy creating things and feel I have a keen ability to put the right people in the right positions,” he says.
We look forward to Larry’s continued success with his ventures, and to partnering again in the future to continue to inspire growth in his businesses.