Burkhart Advertising of South Bend bought by LA company

The digital billboard above the Linebacker Lounge announces the SJRMC ER wait time. The owner of the sign, Burkhart Advertising of South Bend, has sold its outdoor advertising business to a firm based in Louisiana.
South Bend Tribune/RYAN KETTERER

SOUTH BEND — A third generation family business that focuses on outdoor advertising in northern Indiana has been acquired by a Louisiana-based firm that is in the same business. 

Lamar Advertising Co., a publicly-traded firm headquartered in Baton Rouge, said it purchased Burkhart Advertising for an undisclosed sum from the Burkhart/Miller family, descendants of company founders Charles and Elinor Burkhart. 

The local company was founded when the Burkharts started posting signs throughout the city that read “I believe in South Bend” following the closure of Studebaker. Today it includes 1,500 billboard structures — including 23 digital displays — in 38 counties across northern Indiana. 

Charles Miller, CEO of Burkhart, said the company was approached by Lamar about the possibility of a sale. Though Lamar is an older and much larger business, it shares many of the same values and still has family members heavily involved with the company, he said.