A Good Pour: Erik Thornton

A Good Pour is a series of good conversations with good people. It is inspired by the 100 Cups Academy with the awesome Jason Elkins through the very helpful TN Small Business Development Center at Vol State. Learn more at https://100cups.coffee/.


A Good Pour with Erik Thornton

How I Know Erik

Back in March, I went to my first Gallatin Chamber meeting. I didn’t know it then, but I had sat at the cool kids’ table. Why? Because Erik Thornton was also at the table and was sitting right beside me. Erik told me he was a realtor and was pretty new to our area. Then he invited me to his networking group and connected me with someone else. Please take a moment to recall that Erik is the newbie, not me, but this welcoming, inviting nature is just who he is. I then ran into him at several events, and he remembered my name and encouraged me again to come to his networking group or one of the Young Professionals group. I then had to remind him that I helped start one of the area YP groups, and I’m pretty sure I’ve aged out but I would try to get to his networking group. Anyway, when I realized I was unintentionally on a string of women Good Pours, I asked Erik to join me for coffee and conversation.  

His Sumner Story

Erik and his wife Whitney moved to Sumner County in 2019 from small-town Illinois. He is a realtor but with a slightly different focus. Yes, Erik wants to help you find a lovely primary residence here in Middle Tennessee. However, he is also trying to build a specialty of assisting people in finding a perfect vacation home. He sees himself as a concierge realtor, guiding you to your home away from home. 

Upon arrival, he immediately became involved with the Hendersonville and Gallatin chambers (smart move!). He was in the 2020/2021 Leadership Gallatin class and was recently selected to be in the 2021/2022 Leadership Sumner class. Also, he started a networking group with Dennis Tulpa called B3 – Business + Beers + Bonding. Dennis will be a future Good Pour for sure! 

On its Facebook group, B3 is described as “we are business-minded individuals and eager to accomplish our goals. We just happen to subscribe to that whole “know, like and trust” thing in business… We think we can all get where we’re going, and it’s easier if we help one another along the way.” After our Good Pour, I finally attended a B3 and loved it. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a friendly group open to new attendees. Also, I totally drank a glass of wine, so you don’t have to drink beer despite its name. But, of course, soda is more than acceptable, too!

Given all this, it’s not surprising that is his favorite part about Sumner County is the people. Erik feels tremendously fortunate to be here. It turns out we know how to welcome people to Sumner County. Excellent job, friends! 


What is helping him right now? 

  1. Referrals that come from building relationships
  2. Time blocking his day
  3. Surrounding himself with good people

What is an organization or cause near and dear to his heart?

Growing B3: helping people make connections

Helping kids: Kid focused organizations like Make a Wish Foundation and any youth soccer program

What is a movie, television show, podcast, writer, song, etc., to add The Good List?

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins; Erik said it is great for developing mental toughness.

(Read more from The Good List.)

What’s a marketing question for me?

Erik (an area realtor) is thinking of starting a podcast with Dennis Tulpa (an area loan officer) and William Styles (an area insurance agent). We talked about how this sounds like the beginning of a joke – “A realtor, loan officer, and insurance agent walk into a bar…” Anyway, his question is about the possible branding of the podcast. 


“How can we successfully connect the B3 networking group with a potential podcast?”


Now I’m not going to give away all Erik’s thoughts, plans, and secrets about this neat possibility, but I’ll state some early ideas. 


  • Develop and use consistent branding. I recommend keeping the B3 brand but building it further by developing an official logo and brand identity. For example, there can be a B3 networking event, podcast, YouTube channel, etc. all of which use the B3 name and mark.
  • Maximize the content. Have the conversation and use the content in multiple formats. For example, this conversation would be excellent content for a blog, podcast, YouTube video, social media, etc. Record it once and use it everywhere. The group is currently meeting regularly at Jonathan’s. I’m wondering if there is a room out of the crowd where they could set up mics and have a live conversation that can be videoed and then broken out into other formats. 
  • Know your why but ask what if. These guys want to get people together for a conversation to connect and challenge. Right now, they don’t care about making money. They are in it for networking, and I think that is awesome and inspiring. BUT building a brand, networking group, and podcast takes time, and you know what they say – time is money. Long term, if there is no obvious revenue generated from this project, someone will eventually question the value. My advice is to figure out where the time is coming from and agree on how much everyone will spend trying to build this. Then, perhaps, figure out a way to market the represented businesses so there is a clear business benefit and potential revenue stream for all involved from the get-go. 


Good luck, guys! No matter what you do, I know our community will love hearing from all three of you!

b3 networking sumner county
Join us at B3!

Erik – I’m so impressed with how quickly you have immersed yourself in our community. I know you will do big things here, and I’m fortunate to get to watch and help you whenever I can. See you at B3! – KG