Charlotte-area business happenings: Sports agency, shopping tourists and TV baker stay busy

Some happenings in the Charlotte-area small-business community:

• Lending their clients a listening ear helped

Greg Busch


Mike Boykin

find a gap in the sports entertainment marketplace.

While he worked as an executive at a global sports marketing agency, Busch said clients wanted to see senior executives work closer with brand clients, versus the more “organizational-chart approach.”

Earlier this year, Boykin and Busch stepped away from jobs as top executives at GMR Marketing, based in Milwaukee with offices in Charlotte, and created Bespoke Sports & Entertainment, a marketing solutions agency aiming to offer its clients consulting and marketing services tailored to their needs.

Bespoke’s offices on West Morehead Street, just west of Bank of America Stadium, opened earlier this month.

“It’s not about a right or wrong model,” said Busch, Bespoke president. “The large agency model certainly works for some brands that are looking for scale or global reach. It was really more about giving (clients) options. It’s really a customized approach.”

The firm will help clients market products and allow spectators at sporting events to interact with the brand through giveaways from vendors, Busch said.

When looking for a company name, Busch said he and Boykin wanted a moniker that emphasized what the firm would strive to do. They settled on bespoke, an adjective referring to something made to order or customized to fit a particular person or thing.


Fifi’s of Lake Norman

, a fine resale and consignment shop in Cornelius, will host its second annual

Shop Charlotte Bus Tour

on Sept. 27. The tour, in a limousine bus, runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guests who purchase the $30 tickets will be bused to 13 area boutiques, including Fifi’s, Avalilly’s in Cornelius, the Cheeky Bean in SouthPark and The Boulevard at SouthEnd. Customers get a swag bag and lunch, and will enjoy discounts at each stop, organizers say.

The tour is the brainchild of Julia Austin, owner of Fifi’s Fine Resale, as a way of drawing business to local boutiques. Jennifer Malone and Jessica Horton of J. Leigh Events are the event’s organizers.

Tickets can be purchased until Sept. 26 at

The Charlotte pickup location is at Cheeky Bean, 720 Governor Morrison St., Suite 160. Lake Norman pickup is at Fifi’s, 20601 Torrence Chapel Road in Cornelius.


Heather McDonnell

, owner of Fort Mill’s

Cupcrazed Cakery

in Baxter Village, has added another notch to her reality TV belt after she walked away a champ on the Food Network’s “Rewrapped,” a show that challenges chefs to duplicate and then turn classic American snacks into original creations. Her episode aired Sept. 8.

McDonnell, who won “Cupcake Wars” in 2011, and her competitors were tasked with reinventing Ho Hos. McDonnell made a Ho Hos cheesecake, and told The Herald of Rock Hill she plans to incorporate her winnings – a year’s worth of Ho Hos – into treats for customers.