Allen VanNoppen, who founded Morganton-based VanNoppen Marketing more than 20 years ago, has retired. His daughters, Nancy VanNoppen and Jean VanNoppen Patton, have been promoted to co-leadership positions.
Nancy VanNoppen, creative director, and Patton, operations director, have been with the agency since 2015 and 2016, respectively, and hold equity partnerships within the company. Allen VanNoppen will remain chair of the agency’s board of directors.
VanNoppen founded the full-service marketing and graphic design firm in 2001 after first working as a journalist for several years, followed by 15 years as a furniture executive. He began reducing his daily engagement with the marketing company in 2022 as he began work to launch, The Paper, the “all local, locally owned” weekly newspaper he started in Burke County. The Paper published its first edition Feb. 4. Allen VanNoppen will continue as its publisher.
“VanNoppen Marketing is in fantastic hands,” Allen VanNoppen says in a released statement. “Under Nancy and Jean’s active leadership, VNM has realized progressive year-over-year growth across all benchmarks: Portfolio, client care, sales, capabilities, service offering, personnel and talent staffing and company culture.”
“Speaking both as a parent and an employer, I could not be more proud of the responsible stewardship and management they have consistently demonstrated,” he added.
The daughters credit their father’s leadership and approach to client relationships as cornerstones to its success. Nancy VanNoppen says she believes she may have been the first employee of the company, starting to work for her father as a high school student. The company now has seven employees and a core group of contractors. It specializes in business-to-business clients, especially in the furniture industry, and counts Lenoir-based Bernhardt Furniture and Morganton-based EJ Victor as clients. VanNoppen Marketing clients in the tourism sector include Burke, Surry and McDowell counties, as well as Visit Mayberry, the fictional hometown of Sheriff Andy Taylor in Mount Airy.
This change offers their father to pursue his passion of running a local newspaper in his hometown, a dream he has had for years, Nancy VanNoppen says.
“Allen is bringing a much-needed resource to our community with The Paper and we’re excited to watch it flourish,” she says. The Paper recently added three reporters to its newroom, bringing the number of its reporting staff up to eight. That number does not include VanNoppen, who writes news stories and columns.
The transition in leadership also brings new services. The new co-CEOs have been implementing changes throughout the company over the past year, including event planning, exhibition design and commercial interior design, while scaling existing services such as streaming TV advertising and website development. The company saw a 30% increase in business over the previous year.