Romph & Pou has given every employee in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Tyler, Texas, a bonus because of the country’s new tax laws.
The GOP’s tax plan saw the corporate tax rate cut from 35 to 21 percent. That allowed the design and marketing firm to give all of its approximately 100 employees a $575 bonus.
While major corporations like Walmart and Chase have given bonuses and pay raises because of the new tax laws, Romph & Pou is a case of a small, local business spreading the wealth.
“We wanted to dispel the widespread perception that the tax cut would help a business’ employees, only its owners,” firm partner Robert Pou explained.
Firm Partner Jeffrey Romph said he was shocked by the positive reaction of the employees.
“Within 15 minutes we had an email back from 90 percent of employees. I had people telling me stories about how they were going to use it,” Pou added.
“Jeffrey and I see our employees as our most valuable asset and any opportunity we have to communicate that, we take advantage of it,” said Pou. “And we wanted to make sure legislators see there’s an impact when they make pro-business decisions.”
He went on to say that they keep in touch with legislators on behalf of their clients, especially the ones in the healthcare and gaming industries.
“I know there was a lot of discussions about budgeting and cost of cuts, so we want to make sure the legislators personally know about this effect,” he added.
Romph explained that his hope is the move lets the area know they’re supportive of the business environment.
“This area is understated as being pro-business,” Romph enthused. “I wasn’t raised here, so I say that as an outsider looking in. It is easy for businesses to locate and do business here. It has a great upside.”
With most of their clients — which include Brookshire’s Grocery Company, the seven casinos that comprise Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, and Whataburger among others —out of state, Romph and Pou have a greater perspective on the overall economic health of the area and the country. They had a successful 2017 that came as other businesses started to spend, grow, and hire more.
“We’re a reflection of our clients. They are seeing a different business environment and easier path of success and that reflects back on us,” said Pou.
They saw gains themselves as Romph and Pou announced in late 2017 that they would be opening a Baton Rouge office. It was a move five years in the making.
“We worked with accounts down there already and one of our managers needed to relocate, so it all fell into place,” Pou explained.
“As the second largest advertising agency in the state, we should have a greater share of clients from this state, and having an identity in the state capital should reflect our awareness and growth inside Louisiana,” said Romph.
Romph and Pou started 36 years ago as Gremillion and Pou. When partner Ann Gremillion retired in 2016, former Vice President Jeffrey Romph partnered with co-founder Robert Pou.