Branding and strategy consultancy TOKY has a new owner.
Jerry Gennaria, who joined TOKY in 2019 as its director of brand strategy and research, acquired the company this month and has taken on the role of president, according to a press release Tuesday.
The company’s founders, former President Eric Thoelke and his wife, Mary Thoelke, formerly vice president, remain with the company as advisory board members, according to the release. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The Thoelkes started the firm in 1997.
TOKY is one of the St. Louis region’s largest advertising, marketing and PR firms, with 25 employees, according to Business Journal research. The company provides brand research, strategy and identity, as well as interactive design, content strategy, and video and aural branding services.
Prior to joining TOKY, Gennaria, who has over 25 years’ experience in traditional and digital communications was chief strategy officer with Brighton Agency in St. Louis and also had worked 11 years with locally-based Paradowski Creative. He holds a bachelor’s in corporate communications from Lindenwood University, according to a LinkedIn profile. Gennaria also is a commissioner with the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis and an adjunct instructor in design research at Maryville University.
The company’s list of local clients built over the past 25 years includes: Drury Hotels, HOK Architects, Centene, MiTek, Panera, the Chase Park Plaza, Ronnoco Coffee, Bissinger’s Chocolates, Vicia, Rockwell Brewing and Goshen Coffee Roasters, among others. Its national activity includes work for The National Gallery of Art, the National Geographic Society, and The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., and MIT’s List Museum in Boston.
“In March we celebrated TOKY’s 25th anniversary. We’ve built an outstanding team and made a real difference for clients all over the world. Now, we’re entering an exciting new phase for TOKY,” Eric Thoelke said in a statement. “Mary and I have always wanted to craft a company that will endure, will remain a magnet for the best talent in the business, and will continue to embody exceptional quality and brilliant creativity, long after we step back from day-to-day management. With Jerry at the helm, all these goals are secure…”
“TOKY will continue anticipating the changing needs of our clients, illustrated by our evolution into a broader consultancy,” Gennaria said in a statement. “This progression reflects a long-term trend in our business. Increasingly, client engagements which begin with brand identity quickly reveal the need to address questions of business strategy, global trends, and market challenges. The TOKY team brings deep expertise in each of these areas, so leaning into a broader consultancy makes good sense for us and our clients.”
“The company is well positioned for a leap forward, so the time is right for new leadership,” Mary Thoelke stated.