200: Ed Price – Community Matters Cafe



You can find lunch or a cup of coffee in dozens of places in Uptown or South End Charlotte, but you can’t always get them with a side of helping humanity. We know a place where that’s possible — not just easing your hunger but helping men and women who hunger for better lives after recovering from addiction and homelessness. Community Matter Cafe at Charlotte Rescue Mission is helping these men and women get back on their feet, by serving you lunch and getting you on your way.

Ed Price is the Director of Life Skills Operations at Community Matters Cafe, and he joins us on the BrandBuilders Podcast to talk about how the cafe fared in a year when a lot of restaurants struggled.


199: Jay Acunzo – Unthinkable Media



It’s been said that good marketing in today’s world is about storytelling — that your brand has a story, and it draws people to your product or service and moves them to buy it. Our next guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is all about storytelling — he’s a former sports reporter, then digital media strategist, and now he’s an author, a keynote speaker, a podcast creator… and even teaches a class on, you guessed it — storytelling!

Jay Acunzo is all about breaking the mold, breaking through conventional thinking to unleash your creativity and really go after the career and the goals you want. And he joins us today on the BrandBuilders Podcast to talk about it.


198: Maureen Anders & Adria Ruff – AR Workshop



What do you get when you combine a designer and an engineer into one business? You get a well-run business with great-looking stuff, for one. In this case, you get two businesses — a custom design company, and a popular DIY workshop franchise that has grown to 150 locations in three years. The brains behind it all are two women who were looking for something outside the corporate world when their children were small, and found each other and a great idea for a business.

Their latest endeavor is the AR Workshop, a DIY workshop that allows you to make your own personalized designs. We could go on and on — really, we could — but we’ll let them tell it. The BrandBuilders Podcast is happy to welcome Maureen Anders and Adria Ruff of AR Workshop.


197: Emily Battle – Let Me Run



Just a few years after its creation, Let Me Run was off and running as a program to give boys a physical and mental/emotional outlet for all of their energy. Best known as the “boy version” of the popular Girls on the Run program, Let Me Run has expanded to 56 regions of the country in just 10 years. Now, after a year off because of the pandemic, Let Me Run will return to schools in the Fall with an updated curriculum and coaches’ training that reflects the times we’re living in. In addition to teaching boys to have empathy and be supportive teammates, new components will teach boys to process trauma, as well as teach equity and equality for all genders and races. Their Executive Director Emily Battle is here on the BrandBuilders Podcast to tell us all about it.


196: Gary Frey – BGW CPA



When we think about exciting careers, “accountant” usually isn’t at the top of the list — but BGW CPA firm bills itself as “Anything But Typical.” In fact, they have their own podcast of the same name, and its co-founder and co-host Gary Frey has an anything-but-typical title of “Connector, McGyver, and Confidant.” He’s also had an anything-but-typical career and he joins us today on the BrandBuilders Podcast to share the energy he has for everything he does.


195: Jason Bocchino – Green Drains



We’ve all seen a bad horror movie where something sinister creeps up from a drain and frightens the life out of us. Our next guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast says that scenario can be very real… even if it’s not visible to us.

Jason Bocchino is an entrepreneur many times over who has led companies from international debt collections to diamond brokerages to now, something greener. It’s called a “Green Drain,” and it is a pipe designed to protect us from what starts seeping up the OTHER way when water’s not going down. Jason is here to explain.


194: Dualboot Partners



It is rare to find a business these days without a significant web presence. Whether you’re in banking, or health care, or selling pants — you’re online. But most websites now do more than inform customers about products; they’re interactive at multiple levels… which means your company either has to have an IT department to keep up, or hire one.

Dualboot Partners has the ability to “start small and scale up fast” for a company’s tech needs. And the founding partners also have a commitment to the community with the work they do for a number of nonprofits in the area.


193: Ferney Mercado – Char’D Urban wood works



Everyone loves firefighters — they do only good. They arrive when you call 911, they help with life-threatening emergencies, they even run into burning buildings to put out fires and rescue people. So it seems like a special bit of irony that our next guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is a firefighter who USES fire in his “other” line of work, to make cool, artistic furniture.

Ferney Mercado spends fire department shifts — 24 hours, every 3 days for the most part — responding to emergencies. The other days he practices an ancient Japanese technique that uses fire to char wood, that gives his pieces special appeal. If you check out his Instagram at Char’D Urban wood works, you’ll see what we mean. And he’s here to tell us how he makes it happen.


192: Greg Olsen – HEARTest Yard



We loved him on the gridiron, and we loved him off the field too. Greg Olsen not only excelled as a tight end for the Carolina Panthers — with 3, 1000-yard seasons in a row, and more than 8,600 yards for a career (WOW) — but as a community philanthropist, which led to being a 2-time finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award from the NFL. He even took first place in the Charity Challenge for most votes on social media one of those years.

Olsen’s HEARTest Yard foundation helps families of children with heart defects get the nursing care they need. This year, the nonprofit donated $2.5 million dollars to create the HEARTest Yard Pediatric Cardiac Care Clinic at Levine Children’s Hospital. We are honored to have Greg Olsen here with us on the BrandBuilders Podcast today.


191: Lauren Child – Flower Child Heirlooms



Spring is in the air and you’re probably thinking about your yard. Maybe you want to grow your own food, or have cut flowers all summer. But how do you know what to plant where, and how to make it grow?

Flower Child Heirlooms nurtures gardeners and educates them on the importance of growing in a respectful manner. Founder Lauren Child is here to talk gardening – and how she can help with yours. Welcome, Lauren!