S2E15 | Stomp, Chomp & Roll Restaurant Group

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 15

EPISODE GUEST: Will Bigham

Vaulted Oak Brewing took up shop in what was once a BB&T bank and kept a lot of the elements, including the pneumatic tubes formerly used by drive-up customers. 

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Owner of the successful Charlotte, N.C. restaurant group, Stomp, Chomp & Roll, Will Bigham grew up in the franchise biz. His dad started off as a furniture salesman, but in an effort to move back to the south, he looked into franchising a Burger King. He started with a location in Albemarle, NC (our neck of the woods) and has expanded to 20+ locations since. Will’s childhood was in these Burger Kings, helping clean the drive-through as a kid and eventually working the window. “It’s a lot of getting your hands dirty – people don’t see a lot of the hard work that goes into it.” There was just something about the restaurant business that resonated with Bigham. He enrolled at Johnson & Wales and began his own journey in the industry. Working in popular Charlotte, N.C., and New Jersey restaurants, showing up early to learn how to bake the dishes he served. Bigham learned the ropes of business ownership by opening a dessert business with a pastry chef partner. “I’m an everyday learner so I’m just learning all the time.” But two big lessons of the biz: Patience & Hustling. And learning how to be solution-focused without blame. While operating the dessert business he opened Mama Fu’s fast-casual Asian restaurant, which he eventually flipped to what is now the Improper Pig barbecue joint. Then launched the popular breakfast spot, Flying Biscuit, and the Pizza Peel. Fun fact: his crust recipe was inspired by a delicious slice he had at Shakori Hills Music Festival and advice from “American Pie” author, Peter Reinhart. “I’m into the process of food,” says Bigham about finding joy in creating something people truly savor. With so many franchises, he’s learned a thing or two about locations. “I think you can build a business anywhere but the location is huge. But you can build a successful rest anywhere by taking care of people.” Bigham’s lunchtime orders at his Stomp, Chomp & Roll’s Restaurants: Pizza Peel – Godfather Pizza, Kitchen Sink Burrito Improper Pig – No Pig Sandwich, and his random mix of putting slaw on the black-eyed pea salsa Flying Biscuit – Black Bean Cakes & Creamy Dream Grits His tip for young entrepreneurs? Before you launch a business, work for one that’s similar to see if you like it. And be open to everything that’s coming your way.

“It’s a lot of getting your hands dirty – people don’t see a lot of the hard work that goes into it.”

– Will Bigham, Stomp, Chomp & Roll

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:36-05:00September 21st, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E14 | Vaulted Oak Brewery

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 14

EPISODE GUEST: Kiel Arrington

Vaulted Oak Brewing took up shop in what was once a BB&T bank and kept a lot of the elements, including the pneumatic tubes formerly used by drive-up customers. 

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Head Brewer, Kiel Arrington, takes Nick on a mini-tour of the brewery and what goes into making your favorite beers.

Owning a business was always in the back of Arrington’s mind and Vaulted Oak wasn’t his first attempt at starting a brewery business.  In 2015, he pitched a brewery to investors and they didn’t bite.  But Arrington wasn’t deterred and counts it as a good learning experience.

“It took years, up to a decade, in the food and bev industry to grow into where I am today,” says Arrington.

Years passed and Arrington started a family but didn’t give up on the brewery idea.  He started looking at the possibility of opening a bottle shop near Lake Lure when his realtor turned him onto a former BB&T bank location that was just bought.  

Arrington brought on business partner, Johnie Jones, and signed the lease in September 2019.  Next step – he had to bring on investors.  In the 11th hour, Arrington got it done.  (the space almost became a Pop-eye’s!)  

After breaking ground in July 2020 amidst a pandemic and dealing with delays and supply shortages, Vaulted Oak Brewing finally opened its doors on June 8, 2021.

And the brewery was immediately embraced.

“Overwhelming and humbling were phrases I used a lot of times.  We didn’t expect that level of support, especially in a pandemic,” reflects Arrington on the community support.

“Community was always a pillar of our business model. we wanted to be more than just a place to get a beer.”

Arrington’s advice for business owners:

  • Never burn bridges because never know when you’re going to need someone’s relationship.
  • Fail and fail often.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

“It took years, up to a decade, in the food and bev industry to grow into where I am today.”

– Kiel Arrington, Vaulted Oak Brewing

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:37-05:00September 14th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E13.2 | Cheats Cheesesteaks, A Cheez Whiz Smothered Biz from The Crunkleton’s Head Chef & Bar Manager – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 13.1

EPISODE GUEST: Chef Greg Balch & Ryan Hart

After finding creative ways to keep the Crunkleton afloat during the pandemic, Chef Greg Balch and Ryan Hart launched a side-hustle, pop-up cheesesteak business.  It quickly took off and they’re opening a brick and mortar soon.

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Meet two of the minds that make both the Crunkleton Charlotte and Cheat’s Cheesesteaks on the must-list of Charlotte, N.C.’s culinary scene: Executive Chef Greg Balch and Bar Manager Ryan Hart.

After finding creative ways to keep the Crunkleton afloat during the pandemic, Balch and Hart launched a side-hustle, pop-up cheesesteak business.  It quickly took off and they’re opening a brick and mortar soon. 

When it comes to what is the next for the food scene, both Balch and Hart agree that everyone has become accustomed to paying for delivery and pickup.  Inspired by this new dining trend, Cheat’s Cheesesteaks will be a 500 square foot, no seat restaurant, only focused on pickup orders.  

The secret to Cheat’s success?  It could be their popular slo-mo cheese-pour videos on Instagram.  Or it could be Balch & Hart’s dedication to finding the perfect meat, the ideal cheese, and the ultimate flavor convo to please the masses. 

 
 

“What if we’re just super honest and call it ‘cheat day?'”

– Chef Greg Balch on the Origin of Cheat’s Cheesesteak Parlor

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:37-05:00September 6th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E13.1 | The Crunkleton – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 13.1

EPISODE GUEST: Chef Greg Balch & Ryan Hart

Meet two of the minds that make both the Crunkleton Charlotte and Cheat’s Cheesesteaks on the must-list of Charlotte, N.C.’s culinary scene: Executive Chef Greg Balch and Bar Manager Ryan Hart.

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Meet two of the minds that make both the Crunkleton Charlotte and Cheat’s Cheesesteaks on the must-list of Charlotte, N.C.’s culinary scene: Executive Chef Greg Balch and Bar Manager Ryan Hart.

The Crunkleton bar originated in Chapel Hill by owner, Gary Crunkleton, who is brought the craft cocktail scene to N.C. and who coded a majority of the amaros the were before unavailable to the state.

They fired up the Charlotte Crunkleton’s 9 foot, wood-fired hearth and hit the ground running… all the way to pop-up cheesesteak stand with droves of obsessive fans.

Ryan and Greg share their journies through the restaurant industry and how they combine their experience to create an atmosphere at the Crunkleton that is respectful of their staff, customer-driven, and at top of the culinary game in Charlotte.

And if you need a cheat day in your diet, stay tuned for Part 2: Cheats Cheesesteaks – next!

“Do What’s Expected…and Do A Bunch of Other Sh!t Too”

– Ryan Hart, The Crunkleton 

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:37-05:00August 30th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E12 | Sustainability in Style with CT Commercial Paper – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 12

EPISODE GUEST: CT Commercial Paper

We may be a paper company, but this crew is makin’ that paper! We get a fascinating view inside the workings of CT Commercial Paper in Oakboro, NC with Kat Palm & Mollie Guffy.

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Not only do they make the best paper products (Single Roll Tissue, Jumbo Roll Tissue, Hard Wound Roll Towels, Kitchen Roll Towels, Folded Towels, Napkins, Toilet Seat Covers, and more) but their products do not require the destruction and depletion of the world’s precious natural resources. They utilize sustainable virgin pulp and also one hundred percent post-consumer waste substrates. 

“I never thought I would say I’m excited about toilet paper, but I am,” says Kat Palm, president of CTCP who explains there is so much science behind each roll of toilet paper, from the trees to the substrates, to the absorbency and brightness, that she looks at all products with new eyes now. 

CTCP is proud of the quality product they have created and the positive feedback they get from their consumers. 

As of 2021, they have six warehouses located throughout the Central and Western United States, with further expansion planned in the Southern and Eastern portions of the U.S. Y’all know when your office is skimpin on the good paper products — have your boss hit up CT Commercial Paper for that good good.

“I never thought I would say I’m excited about toilet paper, but I am,

– Kat Palm, CTCP

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:38-05:00August 11th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S1E28 | Primeline Capital President Brad Lawson & Co-Owner Fernando Escaffi

SEASON 1: EPISODE NUMBER: 28

EPISODE GUEST: Brad Lawson & Fernando Escaffi

We’ve ventured outside the restaurant industry to sit down with Brad Lawson & Fernando Escaffi, owners of Primeline Capital. Thinking about starting a new business? Well, these guys just started their own mortgage company 2 years ago, and now have over 40 employees. Tune in to learn some tips and tricks on how to have a successful startup.

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We’re stepping outside the restaurant industry into the wild world of mortgages with Brad Lawson, the president of Primeline Capital, and co-owner Fernando Escaffi.  

Lawson and Escaffi are entrepreneurs who created their mortgage company from scratch.  Primeline Capital are mortgage brokers which help with refinancing mortgages, buying new homes, and other financings.

The two things Lawson and Escaffi say entrepreneurs need in order to start their business:

  1. People Skills
  2. Confidence

Through hardship, remain hyper-focused on your goal in order to succeed.  Career-long preparation plays a key role in launching a business.  Seizing opportunities and continuing to make connections will play an important role throughout a career.  

Lawson and Escaffi share the wisdom they’ve gained on what it takes to find success launching a new business. 




“You don’t prepare a month before leaving your company.  You prepare throughout your entire career.”

– Fernando Escaffi, Primeline Capital

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By |2022-03-23T13:38:52-05:00February 2nd, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 1|0 Comments

S1E26 | Triad Foodie Nikki Miller-Ka aka “Nik Snacks”

SEASON 1: EPISODE NUMBER: 26

EPISODE GUEST: Nikki Miller-Ka aka ‘NikSnacks’

“If you’re not on Instagram, I don’t trust you.”  Nikki Miller-Ka , aka ‘Nik Snacks,’ came to speak the truth! We travel to the Triad to dive into the Winston-Salem, NC area food scene with the leading lady of food blogging in their region.  Catch more of her mouth-watering write ups here.

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Nikki Miller-Ka aka NikSnacks is the leading lady of food blogging in the Winston-Salem region! Her goal?  To get everyone to think outside of the box, branch out, and try new, creative things.

Growing up Miller-Ka had wanted to be a journalist but went to school for teaching.  She didn’t truly enjoy the work and decided to make a change.  She enrolled in Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, which she said unlocked a whole new creative side of her brain. 

Still passionate about journalism, she began working at the Greenfield News Record as an editorial assistant.  But one thing was missing — food.  She made the leap to quit her job and start her blog.

In 2014 Miller-Ka turned her blog into her full-time job and it has blossomed into a career. Her blog focuses on the Triad and she wouldn’t have it anywhere else! She has a deep love for Winston-Salem and the restaurants and lifestyle that comprise it.

She became a food editor at TriadcityBeat and now has a weekly column she provides all the food content for.  Miller-Ka’s goal is to share the stories of the people, places, and things that make the Triad area special.

“NikSnacks” has become a multimedia food business wherein Miller-Ka develops recipes, writes articles, and promotes brands.  And she’s always happy to give tips to anyone interested in knowing the method behind her magic.  

Her advice?  Just start.  Start whatever inkling of any idea you have because you never know what will happen.  And if you never ask, the answer will always be “No.”  Learn through trial and error and scheduling posts and articles to help balance your life.

She also suggests starting on Instagram because as she quips, “If you’re not on Instagram, I don’t trust you.” 

Social media is just that — social.  Reach out to those in the community and in engage with everyone.

“If you’re not on Instagram, I don’t trust you.”

– Nikki Miller-Ka

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By |2022-03-23T13:38:53-05:00January 19th, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 1|0 Comments

S1E24 | Rico’s Açaí Owners Matthew & John Williams

SEASON 1: EPISODE NUMBER: 24

EPISODE GUEST: Matthew & John Williams

Their açaí bowls are hella tasty, good for you, and ultra instagrammable. We’re joined by Rico’s Açaí owners Matthew & John Williams to talk about the method behind the fruity madness.

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Their açaí bowls are hella tasty, good for you, and ultra instagrammable. We’re joined by Rico’s Açaí owners Matthew & John Williams to talk about the method behind the fruity madness:  “You’ve got to put the time and effort in to get the carrot at the end of the runway.”  How these two brothers from Puerto Rico took a simple concept and made it one of Charlotte, NC’s most mouth-watering brands. 

“You’ve got to put the time and effort in to get the carrot at the end of the runway.” 

– John Williams, Rico’s Açaí 

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By |2022-03-23T13:38:53-05:00December 29th, 2020|Paper Trails, Season 1|0 Comments

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