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My Charleston Favorites

When I have family members and friends come down and visit me in Charleston I am always asked the same question, “How could you not love it here?” and its true. Charleston just has this way of getting under your skin and never really letting go. It’s more than just a place to live, it’s home.

Coming from Michigan where I lived my whole life, Charleston was a breath of fresh air compared to the grey skies and snowstorms. But, to be honest it was more than just the hot weather that made me fall in love with this great city. So, with that, I thought I would put together a little guide to my favorite parts of Charleston for those of you who may not be from the area.

The Best Places to See:

  1. The Battery
  2. Sullivan’s Island beach
  3. The Cistern yard at the College of Charleston

Favorite Restaurants:

  1. Peninsula Grill
  2. Tasty Thai
  3. D’allesandros Pizza

Favorite Places To Go:

  1. Magnolia Plantation
  2. The straw market
  3. The Farmers Market at Marion Square

Favorite Things To Do:

  1. Take a bike ride downtown
  2. Go to a concert at Patriots Point
  3. Have drinks on the rooftop at the Market Pavilion Hotel

So, next time you are visiting Charleston try out some of my recommendations and of course, try some Lowcountry Blend while you are here. I promise you will not regret it.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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The “Lowcountry”

You know by now that Sunoco’s Charleston blend is called “The Lowcountry Blend” but do you know why Charleston and the surrounding areas is referred to the lowcountry in the first place? I have lived here for a year and I have never once heard why it is called that. So, with the power of the Internet, I looked it up.

In regards to South Carolina, it refers to the “sea islands.” If you have looked at a close-up map of Charleston, you will see there is a lot of water…and a lot of little islands and peninsulas. More specifically, it is often used to describe the land between the ocean and the sand hills.

Perhaps more importantly than geography is the culture that is associated with the term “lowcountry”. It is a historical term based on political and cultural foundations, but is also used to describe a way of life. It describes the uniqueness of the area, with its fashion, elegant style, cuisine, and architecture. Charleston is an eclectic blend of European, American Southern, Caribbean, and African cultures. Add in the Gullah influence and the antebellum and postbellum styles and you get a culture all in its own. The rich history and modern tourism make Charleston a wonderful city for natives, tourists, and students alike.

One aspect that I have noticed in this past year is that Charleston likes its own. It is proud of it’s natives and loves everything local. Driving around, you see more “Native,” “Carolina Girl, “Support Local,” and palmetto and moon bumper stickers than anywhere I have ever seen. There is an ownership that made the Lowcountry the perfect place to launch this coffee blend.

When you find yourself approaching a Sunoco gas station, and stop in for a Lowcountry Blend, think of everything that is behind the name. Picked by Lowcountry residents, it reflects the culture, the history, and everything unique about The Holy City (Charleston!!).

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Being a #beanteam Member

This week, I am deviating from the norm a bit, and I want to express what a unforgettable experience it has been to be a “#beanteam” member this summer (and it isn’t over yet!). At the end of last semester, this internship was recommended to me, and I figured it was a perfect way to spend the summer. I have a strong passion for public and media relations (which is why I am pursuing my Master’s in it), and knew launching a new product would be exciting. I also was excited to meet some pretty great people along the way and learn a little about my new home. Now, I am not saying that I did not expect this experience to be as rewarding as it has been, but it really has exceeded expectations (and to my fellow #beanteam “belles,” I know you feel the same way!).

Right from the get-go, employees from Sunoco, Inc. and The Bravo Group have been welcoming, encouraging, motivating, and genuinely happy to have us on board. I don’t think I am saying anything shocking when I argue that the college-aged generation isn’t always taken very seriously. As an intern, I have done everything from mindlessly stapling mailers to being the only official PR representative for a business.  I greatly appreciate the creative freedom and trust that has been given to us this summer, as we can take pride and ownership toward our work while experiencing the direct and positive return on investment.

As I work diligently on the comprehensive video and help plan a final presentation for the two companies, I can only be excited to see where this leads and how we are setting the precedent for other coffee initiatives around the country. Studying public relations can be difficult, because every campaign, every company, every environment is going to be different. That is why these internships are so valuable: you have to get out their and experience it! You just have to find the right people who will put faith in your abilities and let you show them what you are capable of.

So, when you go to your local Sunoco gas station and sip on that soothing Lowcountry Blend, think of the people who are working hard behind the scenes. It isn’t only about making a sale. It is about the experience that EVERYONE earns in the process that is the true reward.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Sip On Coffee, Learn Spanish

Buenas tardes! For those who didn’t understand that, it’s “good afternoon” in Spanish. When I attended the College of Charleston, it was a requirement to take a foreign language in order to graduate. So I chose Spanish because I was already familiar with it and enjoy the language and various cultures.

Interestingly enough, many of the beans used to supply our coffee habits come from Spanish-speaking countries. In fact, our very own Lowcountry Blend is a combination of Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran & Mexican coffees blended together to make that rich smooth taste. You can also check out this link to see the World’s Top 10 Coffee-Producing Countries.

So here’s a fun combination: learn Spanish while taking a coffee break. I found a website with podcasts to learn the language called Coffee Break Spanish. I wish I had found this site when I was still in school. Instead, maybe this site can help those out there who are interested in learning the language in a differently fun way. And what better way than to learn it with a cup of café con leche (coffee with milk). So pour yourself a fresh cup of Lowcountry Blend and learn some Español!

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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A Good Cup of History and Coffee!


Good Morning to my favorite coffee drinkers and connoisseurs!

How were your Fourth of July holidays? I hope that you all got the chance to eat all the barbeque and ice cream you could, played in the pool with the overwhelming heat, and that you enjoyed some breath taking fireworks.

Did you know that the College of Charleston is the thirteenth oldest school in the United States of America?  The College of Charleston was founded in 1770, with some of the main founders being three signers of the Declaration of Independence, three framers of the Constitution, judges, and state governors. The first president of the college was Reverend Robert Smith and the first classes of the College of Charleston were held in Reverend Smith’s home (http://www.cofc.edu/ ).  Also speaking about Reverend Smith, it may be myth but Reverend Smith would supposively invite students individually to his home for dinner and then to watch the hanging of pirates for entertainment.  In 1794, the first class of College of Charleston graduated with six people (http://www.cofc.edu/ ).  Needless to say, College of Charleston holds history in every brick and crevice.

Who of you are big fans of Mel Gibson and Nicholas Sparks? Well, when it comes to the history of media and film, “The Notebook,”“Dear John” and “The Patriot” were filmed on the College of Charleston campus.  Also, some other television shows like “O” and “General Hospital” were filmed on the college campus.  The College of Charleston has even been visited by famous politicians like, Congressman Ron Paul, Senator John McCain, President Barack Obama, Senator John Edwards, Speaker Newt Gingrich, Governor Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee.

I attend the College of Charleston and I will be graduating next spring semester with a degree in Communications and Psychology.  I will be a part of the class of 2013 and I can’t help but wonder all of the people who are and were College of Charleston alumni before me.  Three weeks after I walk across the Cistern, in the direction of starting my new life as a college graduate, I will be marrying my best friend.  I am only one of the stories that fill the walls of the College of Charleston, so as you visit this school campus, bring along a cup of Lowcountry Blend.  Let’s make the Lowcountry Blend another story to be told!

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Picturing the #BeanTeam

As we embark on the first week of the Caffeinate Charleston campaign, I can see a fun-filled adventure ahead us. As a member of the #BeanTeam, one of my responsibilities will be to document events and most of all, document our journey throughout this campaign.

I was a combat photojournalist for the U.S. Air Force for 10 years. From that experience, I learned how to create a picture by controlling light and telling a story through photos. So with that, I’ll be drawing upon my previous experience and photography skills to cover our campaign throughout the summer.

We hope to share with you our experiences throughout this project. So far I have photographed the press conference on Monday at the Lowcountry Food Bank, officially introducing “Lowcountry Blend” coffee to Charleston. The photos can be found here.

I look forward to taking more photos and sharing them with you as our story unfolds. You can also come out to join us during one of our future events and be a part of our story. Follow us on our blog and we’ll make sure to keep you posted!

~JoAnn Makinano

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Caffeinate Charleston

 

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Charleston Blend Tasting and Brew Selection

In an attempt to “Caffeinate Charleston,” Sunoco decided to hold a tasting event where attendees could choose from a variety of coffee blends and name options, created just for the Lowcountry region. 

On May 1, we invited Sunoco store managers in the Charleston, SC area, along with staff from our Sunoco corporate team; staff and volunteers from the Lowcountry Food Bank and American Red Cross, our charitable partners; and our new Bean Team interns, students from the College of Charleston, to the Lowcountry Food Bank for this event.

Our BeanTeam interns and staff at the Charleston Tasting Event

 
 

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