At Acumen, Rome and general manager Hank Henagan also compete with home-grown Lamar Advertising, a firm for which they both once worked.
got started in the billboard industry with Lamar almost 30 years ago and went on to run his
own niche company, which at its height had billboards in 16 parishes and two counties in Mississippi. Henagan, who later dropped out of the business world to become an associate pastor at the Bethany World Prayer Center, was lured back into the billboard business by Rome in the summer of 2000.
Rome and Henagan
bought the boards, some of which were in lousy locations with poor traffic counts.
said local billboard rates have dipped in recent months because of a decline in spending by advertisers and local competition.
"It's not a dramatic drop, but 10 percent to 15 percent if you have to put a figure on it, depending on the location."
Over the past year, Acumen has cut down six billboards in North Baton Rouge neighborhoods with poor demographics for advertisers and moved the signs to busier parts of town.The company now has sites on I-12 at Sherwood Forest Boulevard, Bluebonnet Boulevard at Perkins Road and O'Neal Lane at South Harrell's Ferry Road, among others.
The company started last year with roughly 20 percent of its billboard space leased.
and Couvillion say the billboard business can be cutthroat, especially because community zoning restrictions limit where and how high boards can be built.
describes Acumen and Tiger Billboards as "kind of like Avis."They're both small companies that must try harder to compete with the 131,000 outdoor displays owned by Lamar nationally.