Category Archives: BrandBuilders

Brad Smith – Hickory Tavern



The award-winning Hickory Tavern has 27 locations in four states. And it all started 22 years ago with a couple of guys who just wanted a place to watch a game while eating great food and drinking a couple of beers. Co-founder and CEO Brad Smith joins us on the BrandBuilders Podcast for more on the brand’s backstory, what’s made the Hickory Tavern so successful, and the science behind “craveology.”


Adam Burke & Linda Reynolds – Children’s Theatre of Charlotte



Started in 1948 by the Junior League… and now in one of uptown’s hottest properties, Imaginon… the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is a group that gives back to our community again and again. It not only puts on great shows, but offers opportunities to children and teens to learn about and take part in the great world of stage. Adam Burke is the Artistic Director, and Linda Reynolds is the Managing Director. They’ve taken time from their holiday programming to be our guests on the BrandBuilders Podcast.

Michael Trivette – College Transitions



Michael Trivette helps parents navigate the long, complex, and often-confusing world of college choice and admissions. He’s an App State grad, and holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Georgia. He’s part of the team at College Transitions, a company that helps parents and high schoolers with one of the most important choices they’ll ever make. He’s our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast!


Haley Bohon – SkillPop



All of us wish we knew how to do “cool stuff” — like create a piece of art, homemade wreaths… or digital marketing with social media. But who has time for 8 weeks of classes? Not us. But we CAN set aside two or three hours for an introduction that gets us going, and that’s where SkillPop comes in.

The wildly popular classes are perfect for busy professionals or parents who have young families — because they teach a cool skill in just a couple of hours. Our guest on BrandBuilders is the woman behind this incredible concept, which has grown so quickly in 3 years that it’s now offered in 5 cities…  and the list of offerings is growing too. Welcome Haley Bohon, founder and CEO of SkillPop.


Lori Pope – Studio Displays



Have you ever walked into a museum or trade show and been bowled over by the “wow” factor of a display or a booth, and thought “I’d like to meet the artist who created THAT”? Well, we’ve got one of them here with us today.

Our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is chief operating officer of one of Charlotte’s oldest and best-known display companies, Studio Displays. Founded nearly 40 years ago by the late Tom Pope, Studio Displays carries on the same artistic and creative passion, through the eyes and hands of Tom’s son Thomas, daughter Lori, and brother Chris — and a whole team of creative artists.

This week, we welcome Lori Pope to our studio — thanks for being here!


Scott Hofert – ColsenKeane



How often do you buy yourself a new briefcase? How about luggage? Shaving kit? Wallet? These are all items that are commonly made of leather — or a leather look-alike — and most of us replace them about every 5 or 10 years, depending on what they’re really made of, and how well they’re made.

Our next guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast wants you to have just ONE case for your important papers, and he wants it to be one you’ll never have to replace. Scott Hofert is a former world traveler who wanted to be a homebody… and got to be, because of his passion for crafting leather. His business, ColsenKeane, was born from his desire to create lasting accessories that can be passed down through the generations.


Stephanie & Adrienne Vendetti – How to Be a Redhead



Blonde, brunette, redhead? Or how about auburn, ginger, strawberry blonde? It’s a different world when you’ve got red hair… and Stephanie and Adrienne Vendetti know it all too well.

For years growing up, the sisters struggled with make-up, hair products, and other cosmetics that would irritate their sensitive skin. They say necessity is the mother of invention… or in this case, the sister of it — as the Vendettis made it their mission to find the best products for redheads and let the world know where to find them. They’re here to tell the story of their brand, How to Be a Redhead.


Tim Miner – Charlotte is Creative



Charlotte is known for banking and Bojangle’s, but also a great place for young people to get great jobs, have fun, and maybe settle down and stay a while. Part of the vibe that attracts young folks, though, is how “cool” and “creative” a city can be… and our next guest on BrandBuilders is doing his best to make it that way.

Tim Miner is a founder of Charlotte is Creative and cohosts Creative Mornings Charlotte, the monthly gathering of the Queen City’s most creative people — or just people who want to be inspired by good vibes and creative energy!


Jim Cusson – Theory House



Retail shopping — every November and December we hear that it’s fading away with the rise of online sales, but not everyone is ready to throw in the towel. Instead, brick and mortar stores are learning to “up their game” by looking at new ways to attract people off the street AND on their phones, by tying the two worlds together in creative ways.

Our next guest on the BrandBuilders podcast does exactly that to balance the online and storefront worlds. Jim Cusson *builds brands* as president of Theory House, a Charlotte retail marketing agency. And we mean big names… including Pepsi, Lowe’s, and Starbucks to name a few. Welcome from one BrandBuilder to another, Jim!


Becky Santoro & Sloan Crawford – Foster Village Charlotte



When children are taken into foster care, they usually have very little with them. It is a stressful, emotional time for the children, their biological families, and their foster families.

Four women in Charlotte have gotten together to create a “village” of sorts, to help foster children who are relocating with little notice and few belongings. Foster Village Charlotte starts with giving the children welcome packs — and then goes so much further. On this episode of the BrandBuilders Podcast, we talk with two team members, Becky Santoro and Sloan Crawford.