Good article in Washington Monthly this spring.
Unfortunately, it describes how St. Louis is a shell of its former self and proposes a theory as to why. We tend to agree with the thesis and hope that a Teddy Roosevelt trust busting era blooms in America very soon.
Many renga communications partners were “in town” during the region’s advertising boom in the 80s as referenced in the article. [It shows in some of our samples.]
Moreover, St. Louis had an abundance of what regional economic growth theorists such as Richard Florida, Edward Glaeser, and Enrico Moretti argue is the most important ingredient of success for post-industrial America: a large population of educated, professional, creative types who dream up the innovations that drive growth and profits (think software in Seattle and Silicon Valley, biotech in Boston, finance in New York and Charlotte). In 1980, 23 percent of adults living in the St. Louis area had completed four years of college or higher—double the national average and greater than that of economically “hot” cities like Dallas, Charlotte, and San Diego. Even more important, one out of every five residents worked in fields like finance, insurance, real estate, business, health, law, or medicine.
Indeed, St. Louis contained enough human capital to sustain one of the defining “creative class” industries: advertising. Though perhaps not quite as high-flying as their Mad Men counterparts, St. Louis firms rivaled the biggest New York, LA, and Chicago ad agencies in terms of revenue and creativity during the industry’s heyday from the 1970s to the 1980s.