Category Archives: BrandBuilders

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.


Caylin Haldeman – Next Stage Consulting



Starting a company can be hard work — envisioning everything from the direction, to the branding, to funding and human resources. It’s no different with a non-profit organization, even if the goals of a non-profit are more socially-minded than profit-driven.

Often on a shoe-string budget, they still need the same type of strategic planning, development, and support as a business. Our next guest on the BrandBuilders podcast is someone who helps them do that. Caylin Haldeman is Project Development Manager at Next Stage Consulting, a company that also launched an incubator program for new non-profits last year, called CULTIVATE.


Ming-Chun Lee – UNCC



By now most of us have heard of, or tried, virtual reality… the experience where you put on the mask or goggles and step into a whole different world. It’s young cousin, augmented reality, allows you to basically create a different world around you without the funny goggles. Our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast is Ming-Chun Lee, a UNCC professor in urban design, and a fellow with the Knight Foundation. He’s helping build an exclusive Pokémon GO game — and then some — just in time for the September 30 Open Streets 704.


Ryan and Kirk Leaphart – Reel Trail



If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or weekend warrior, you’ve probably got a bunch of used gear in your garage that you hate to throw out. Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, and even Nextdoor are all options… but they all have their drawbacks, too.

Enter father and son consignment shop owners from Charleston who thought there had to be an easier way — so they designed ReelTrail, a buying and selling website and app that also gives back to environmental causes. Ryan and Kirk Leaphart joins us on the Brandbuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group!


Erin Santos – Isabella Santos Foundation



No cause tugs at our hearts here like fighting kids’ cancer… and Erin Santos has taken the fight to a whole new level. The Isabella Santos Foundation is known around Charlotte for its unique fundraisers — besides your 5K race coming up September 29th, the ISF had trampoline parties, T-shirt campaigns, and as well as golf outings, coffees, dinners, and galas. Erin Santos talks about what keeps her going day after day. She’s our guest here on the BrandBuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group.


John Tosco – Tosco Music Party



A Tosco Music Party show has been equated with walking into an ice cream shop and getting a spoonful of everything. In other words, if you love live music, you’re sure to find something that suits your tastes here. John Tosco has been bringing together all kinds of people and all sorts of music for 30 years! He’s our guest on the BrandBuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group!


Tony Santoro – Enderly Coffee



People first. Coffee, always. For Tony Santoro and Enderly Coffee, that’s not just marketing speak. It’s how he runs his business and treats the folks around him. Enderly Coffee has an incredibly down-to-earth and downright hilarious backstory. (Think: roasting coffee beans in your popcorn popper.) But the brand’s connection to its namesake neighborhood is undeniably real. That story is on this episode of The BrandBuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group.


Rob Butcher – Swim Across America



Charlotte is host and home to some pretty well-known cancer-fighting fundraisers — like 24 Hours of Booty, the Isabella Santos 5K, Pink to Drink, and others. But few attract Olympians alongside the locals like Swim Across America, and that’s far from its only success story. The event returns to the Lake Norman YMCA for the 2nd year this fall. Swim Across America’s Rob Butcher is our guest on The BrandBuilders Podcast with The Dunstan Group.


Laureen Jenkins – Project Outpour



Living on the streets is a reality most of us will thankfully never know. Charlotte’s homeless go largely uncounted, and often unrecognized. One woman has an idea to help them live with a little more dignity — a shower. A mobile shower trailer, to be more specific. Laureen Jenkins is here with Project Outpour, an idea to help Charlotte’s homeless neighbors in a very simple way. She’s our guest here on the BrandBuilders Podcast.