Advertising and marketing are unlikely candidates for the "mom-and-pop" business model. But that's exactly what Dave Thomas was striving for when he and his sons founded ThomasArts in Farmington in 2003.

Thomas is an industry veteran, serving as founding partner for one agency and leading several others. After his work on the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Thomas began considering a focus on local growth and industry.

He turned first to his sons — Troy, Matt and Brent — who had worked in creative fields like copywriting, graphic design and multimedia. Together, they opened ThomasArts, with offices in Thomas' basement.

The family's experience helped the marketing efforts of several Utah clients. But as ThomasArts' reputation grew, the company found itself competing for larger and larger accounts.

Thomas decided to fund this expansion himself, and the company moved to a local office building and hired more employees. Rapid growth has challenged the company in several ways, from bringing new employees into the company culture to shifting the principals' roles and responsibilities as ThomasArts evolves.

But the "mom-and-pop" emphasis has helped Thomas and his sons keep the company moving forward. The agency is "vertically organized," which means it offers account management, creative concepts, production, media placement, multimedia and public relations services in-house.

Employees in different departments share responsibilities, giving the company a flexible, adaptive advantage.