Modeling Agency Prepares To Close Doors

CLEVELAND - It's been in the spotlight for decades as Cleveland's premier modeling agency, but the Ford agency in Downtown Cleveland is preparing to close its doors, 19/43 News' Lynna Lai reported.

When it comes to fashion modeling, Cleveland might not be top of mind, but for commercial work, the pace has been steady.

That apparently is not enough, however. One of the largest modeling agencies in northeast Ohio is shutting down, citing a lack of support in the Cleveland market.

Ford's closing is like a snapshot of the local economy. Often, when times are tough, the first thing a company cuts is the advertising budget, and that in turn has cut back on the need for models.

The news is not necessarily good even for those who compete for Ford's business.

"I'm really sad to see them shut down," Dennis Boyles, of IMI Talent Management, said.

"I think it's great to have two to three really strong agencies out there. It drives business into Cleveland."

Models and photographers who used Ford to get work had mixed feelings about the company's impending exodus out of northeast Ohio.

"There's always agencies out there, so it really doesn't worry me," aspiring model Carolyn Jennings said.

"It's a big name," photographer Eric Mull said. "You hate to see a big name leaving anywhere, just like LTV. It's tough to see."

Ford's Cleveland office was formerly David and Lee, which was the city's oldest locally owned agency.

Ford declined to comment on camera about its North Coast closure, which is set for the end of February.