Food-focused PR firm Big Spoon scoops up The Apple Cart

EnriqueMendezandKevinClay

Big Spoon co-owner Enrique Mendez, left, joined founder Kevin Clay in 2020. (Photos courtesy Big Spoon Co.)

A few years after pairing with a marketing peer, local PR firm Big Spoon Co. has scooped up another firm with a shared food- and restaurant-industry focus.

Big Spoon last month acquired The Apple Cart Co., a 10-year-old consultancy led by co-founder Barb Lamb, who started working with Big Spoon last fall.

The deal adds Lamb as an equal partner in Big Spoon with founder Kevin Clay and co-owner Enrique Mendez, who similarly joined the fold when his Design by E marketing shop merged with Big Spoon in 2020. Lamb also will serve as director of strategy, adding a consulting arm to Big Spoon’s suite of services.

Talks about combining with Apple Cart started last summer in light of several projects over the years that Big Spoon and Apple Cart had either worked on together or referred to each other, Lamb said.

Barb Lamb

Barb Lamb

“I was the marketing director for Ellwood Thompson’s as a freelance consultant, and then Big Spoon came in and did all the implementation on that account. It just was a good fit,” Lamb said of their work for the Carytown-area grocery store.

“As more accounts came in, we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do this and that together.’ It just seemed like a great relationship, and we all work well together,” she said. “I’m excited. It’s just been nice to have a team of people with a lot of expertise to have your back.”

Clay, who launched Big Spoon in 2013, said the two firms had been on a parallel path that often crisscrossed over the years. In addition to Ellwood Thompson’s, the firms collaborated for such clients as The Positive Vibe Foundation and local bakery Two and a Half Irishmen.

“Barb started her company around the same time that we did in 2013, and we serve a very similar client base,” Clay said. “We’ve been partnering with Barb on several accounts for quite a few months now, and I’ve known her from being around the industry, so it just seemed like a natural marriage.”

Clay said having Lamb on board will branch Big Spoon out to more food and beverage businesses that had been its bread and butter. The company started with a focus on food and beverage brands, with Clay launching it with Buz and Ned’s barbecue restaurants as his first social media client.

“This year we’re really focused on getting back to our core and area of expertise, which is food and beverage, so being able to have Barb as part of that process and directing strategy for us is very exciting,” Clay said.

Lamb – then known as Barb Upchurch – started Apple Cart in 2014 with co-founder Stephanie Ganz, initially with a focus on food truck consulting. The pair’s local clients included Morgan Botwinick, who they helped to open Whisk bakery in Shockoe Bottom in 2015.

Ganz left the business in 2018 to focus on a writing career, Lamb said, and Lamb purchased sole ownership rights to the business from Ganz in 2019.

Since partnering with Mendez, who he knew from their days at VCU, Clay said Big Spoon’s roster has grown to 17 staffers, with services including public relations, social media, web and graphic design, photography and videography, copywriting and association management.

Big Spoon’s 20 current clients include Richmond Region Tourism, Mise En Place cooking school, Midwives for Haiti and Richmond Food Truck Association. In addition to food and beverage, the company serves so-called “lifestyle” brands such as magazines and apparel, nonprofits and the real estate industry.

Clay said the firm staff currently works remotely after losing the Shockoe Bottom office space it previously shared with Clocktower Realty Group when the brokerage joined up with One South Realty Group, now part of Samson Properties.

The Apple Cart acquisition closed in mid-January. Justin Laughter of Threshold Counsel PC managed the transaction.

EnriqueMendezandKevinClay

Big Spoon co-owner Enrique Mendez, left, joined founder Kevin Clay in 2020. (Photos courtesy Big Spoon Co.)

A few years after pairing with a marketing peer, local PR firm Big Spoon Co. has scooped up another firm with a shared food- and restaurant-industry focus.

Big Spoon last month acquired The Apple Cart Co., a 10-year-old consultancy led by co-founder Barb Lamb, who started working with Big Spoon last fall.

The deal adds Lamb as an equal partner in Big Spoon with founder Kevin Clay and co-owner Enrique Mendez, who similarly joined the fold when his Design by E marketing shop merged with Big Spoon in 2020. Lamb also will serve as director of strategy, adding a consulting arm to Big Spoon’s suite of services.

Talks about combining with Apple Cart started last summer in light of several projects over the years that Big Spoon and Apple Cart had either worked on together or referred to each other, Lamb said.

Barb Lamb

Barb Lamb

“I was the marketing director for Ellwood Thompson’s as a freelance consultant, and then Big Spoon came in and did all the implementation on that account. It just was a good fit,” Lamb said of their work for the Carytown-area grocery store.

“As more accounts came in, we were like, ‘Hey, let’s do this and that together.’ It just seemed like a great relationship, and we all work well together,” she said. “I’m excited. It’s just been nice to have a team of people with a lot of expertise to have your back.”

Clay, who launched Big Spoon in 2013, said the two firms had been on a parallel path that often crisscrossed over the years. In addition to Ellwood Thompson’s, the firms collaborated for such clients as The Positive Vibe Foundation and local bakery Two and a Half Irishmen.

“Barb started her company around the same time that we did in 2013, and we serve a very similar client base,” Clay said. “We’ve been partnering with Barb on several accounts for quite a few months now, and I’ve known her from being around the industry, so it just seemed like a natural marriage.”

Clay said having Lamb on board will branch Big Spoon out to more food and beverage businesses that had been its bread and butter. The company started with a focus on food and beverage brands, with Clay launching it with Buz and Ned’s barbecue restaurants as his first social media client.

“This year we’re really focused on getting back to our core and area of expertise, which is food and beverage, so being able to have Barb as part of that process and directing strategy for us is very exciting,” Clay said.

Lamb – then known as Barb Upchurch – started Apple Cart in 2014 with co-founder Stephanie Ganz, initially with a focus on food truck consulting. The pair’s local clients included Morgan Botwinick, who they helped to open Whisk bakery in Shockoe Bottom in 2015.

Ganz left the business in 2018 to focus on a writing career, Lamb said, and Lamb purchased sole ownership rights to the business from Ganz in 2019.

Since partnering with Mendez, who he knew from their days at VCU, Clay said Big Spoon’s roster has grown to 17 staffers, with services including public relations, social media, web and graphic design, photography and videography, copywriting and association management.

Big Spoon’s 20 current clients include Richmond Region Tourism, Mise En Place cooking school, Midwives for Haiti and Richmond Food Truck Association. In addition to food and beverage, the company serves so-called “lifestyle” brands such as magazines and apparel, nonprofits and the real estate industry.

Clay said the firm staff currently works remotely after losing the Shockoe Bottom office space it previously shared with Clocktower Realty Group when the brokerage joined up with One South Realty Group, now part of Samson Properties.

The Apple Cart acquisition closed in mid-January. Justin Laughter of Threshold Counsel PC managed the transaction.

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David McIntosh
David McIntosh
5 months ago

Congratulations, Kevin and team!

Erik Colley
Erik Colley
5 months ago

Congratulations Kevin! Exciting stuff for you all.