Local ad executive is committed to helping make Prescott Business Vibrant and Strong
Prescott Woman Magazine sat down with Tracey Horn, President of Helken & Horn Advertising Agency and a member of the Prescott Downtown Partnership (PDP), to find out what she enjoys most about living and working in Prescott.
PWM: How long have you been a member of the Prescott Downtown Partnership?
Tracey: Helken & Horn Ad Agency originally was a member of the Prescott Downtown Partnership many years ago and rejoined the group this year.
PWM: Tell me a little about what brought you and your business to Prescott.
Tracey: I grew up in Connecticut, in a small, close-knit historical community—very much like Prescott. My father worked in New York City’s ad world and when he retired, our family moved to Tucson. I studied Film and Advertising at the University of Arizona. After I earned a BFA degree, I was planning to head back east and start my advertising career in New York City. Before I left, I wanted to see the Grand Canyon. On my drive there, I stopped in Prescott, and it was love at first sight. Prescott reminded me so much of my hometown. On a whim, I sent out my resumé. I got a job offer from the only ad agency in town. I thought, “Maybe my new life is in Prescott,” and moved here instead of New York. After about a year, the agency where I worked was changing direction. So the copywriter I worked with, Robin Helken, said, “Let’s open our own place!” and we did. Since starting Helken & Horn in 1995, we’ve created thousands of ad campaigns for local businesses. We handle all forms of marketing to promote businesses—from traditional print, radio, and television advertising to digital marketing using Google Ads, retargeting and social media platforms. Today, we’re the oldest locally run, full-service ad agency in town.
PWM: What makes the PDP different from other organizations in the area, and what do you personally enjoy most about being part of the PDP group?
Tracey: For the past 28 years, I’ve focused our agency on smaller, mom-and-pop type businesses who need creative campaigns to get the word out and attract customers. That’s what I really like about the Prescott Downtown Partnership group, too. They focus on helping all the businesses in the heart of Prescott: our downtown. We had the opportunity to collaborate with the PDP this year and provide marketing for the Summer Concert Series they manage on the Courthouse Plaza. Leadership at the PDP is made up of local business owners who are eager to help and volunteer their time for the many events they bring to downtown. They represent the spirit that makes Prescott so special.
PWM: How are you involved in the community?
Tracey: I’ve enjoyed volunteering at many wonderful nonprofits over the years, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Yavapai Blind Center. I served on the Advisory Board of the Arizona Community Foundation for 15 years. I truly love offering my marketing expertise to help promote organizations.
I’m also the creator of—and volunteer for—the Whiskey Row New Year’s Eve Boot Drop. I’d been thinking of a New Year’s Eve drop for several years. I’m a New Year’s baby and when we’d go downtown to celebrate each year, there wasn’t a lot going on. I’d done marketing for The Palace Restaurant & Saloon and knew the building’s flagpole would offer great visibility for a drop of some kind. Patti Ezell at Great Circle Media actually came up with the idea of dropping a cowboy boot! She partnered with my agency to make the first Boot Drop a success. I reached out to my clients for help sponsoring the event and raised enough funds to build the Boot, which was created by Stefan Morkov at Morgan Sign. With many volunteers and help from the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Club, the first Boot Drop happened in 2011. I organized the event for three years, then passed the baton to Matt Brassard and Marco Espitia of M & M Entertainment & Productions in 2015. I’m still very involved in the event, from finding sponsorships to providing all the marketing. About 10,000 people now attend the Boot Drop. I’m proud of how it has grown and how it has helped downtown businesses.
PWM: Do you work downtown and what do you like best about that?
Tracey: Helken & Horn has always had an office in downtown Prescott. I love the atmosphere and the easy access to restaurants and connecting with local businesses. Today, we’re located in the old EZ Transmix cement plant, with an amazing view of downtown from our gazebo-style patio. It’s a space that inspires creative solutions.
PWM: What else do you want to add that people might not know about you, or what you do/offer?
Tracey: After living downtown for more than 22 years, my boyfriend Erik Meinhardt and I bought a small cabin near Goldwater Lake. It’s a very different pace of life out there and feels like being on vacation every day. I hike to the lake several times a week and each season brings new experiences to enjoy. It’s one of the things I love most about the Prescott area. You can find almost any lifestyle you want here, from the forest pines to the downtown rich in history to the cowboy-style ranch life. It really is an amazing community to live and work in. I feel very fortunate I passed up going to New York City many years ago and chose the wonderful life I have in Prescott!