CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GRISWOLD-ESHELMAN CO.

GRISWOLD-ESHELMAN CO.

GRISWOLD-ESHELMAN CO., one of Cleveland's most prominent advertising agencies, was founded by Chas. Eshleman and Ray H. Griswold in 1912 with $200 in capital. Known initially as the Advertising Dept. Co., the firm had no home office but maintained desks in the offices of its clients. By 1913 it had become Griswold-Eshleman agency. By 1927, the year that Charles J. Farran joined the firm as a copywriter, the company had 15 employees. Farran steadily advanced to become president in 1957 and chairman of the board in 1969. During Farran's tenure as president and chairman, he transformed the company into an international agency, adding offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Milan, and Dusseldorf, as well as in New York City, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. Farran built the company's business from about $9 million in billings in 1957 to more than $42 million in 1971, serving clients such as GENERAL ELECTRIC, SHERWIN-WILLIAMS, and Penton Publishing. By 1970 Griswold-Eshleman was the largest advertising agency in Ohio and the 38th-largest in the U.S. Following its purchase by Ross Roy, Inc., in 1983, the company shortened its name to Griswold, Inc., only to become Griswold-Eshleman Co. following a buyback in 1995. In 1995 the company employed 70 employees in the Cleveland area and had billings of $29 million.