Five generations of sandwich artists discuss ThunderCloud Subs’ enduring appeal

Thundercloud for Austin Monthly Magazine
Drew Anthony Smith

We’ve been lucky to work with some quintessential Austin brands over the years. One of these is ThunderCloud Subs, a local chain of sub sandwich shops that is one of the most-loved businesses in the city.

In 10 years as ThunderCloud’s PR agency, this article more than any other gets the vibe and culture that make ThunderCloud unique.

“As much as Austin has changed over ThunderCloud’s 47 years in operation, walking into one of their shops still feels like stepping back in time. And a big part of that classic vibe has to do with the employees, many of whom to this day still fit the city’s legendary slacker archetype, clocking out to head straight to band practice.”

Thanks to writer Dan Gentile for the extensive research and interviews, and really capturing ThunderCloud.

Famous quotes about public relations

“If I was down to my last dollar I’d spend it on public relations.”

This is likely the most famous and popular quote about PR. Do you know who said it?

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is famously quoted as saying he’d spend his last dollar on PR.

Here are a few other noteworthy quotes on public relations.

🗞️“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.”
– Daniel J. Boorstin, historian and author

🗞️ “When they go low, we go high.”
– Michelle Obama, former first lady

🗞️“Advertising is saying you’re good. PR is getting someone else to say you’re good.”
– Jean-Louis Gassée, former Apple executive

🗞️“In the end, all you have is your reputation.”
– Oprah, talk show host, actress, entrepreneur

🗞️“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.”
– Warren Buffett, investor and philanthropist

🗞️“The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.”
– Mark Twain, humorist

🗞️“Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.”
– John D. Rockefeller, business magnate

GFO Home founder featured in Austin Business Journal profile

GFO Home founder and CEO Glenn Gehan is a fifth-generation homebuilder who, as a kid, thought he might be a dentist someday. Instead, he built his first company into one of the largest volume homebuilders in the country. And his new company is already an amazing success story.

This profile of Glenn in the Austin Business Journal is a rare look at the roots of Glenn’s success, and his present-day inspirations. “You don’t get many fifth-generation homebuilders,” Glenn says.

Join us: Don’t Ban Equality

Brenda Thompson Communications is one of more than 50 companies that signed an open letter denouncing Texas’ near-total ban on abortion, saying restrictions on reproductive care will be bad for business and hurt workers, customers, and the state’s economy.

This article in Forbes Magazine lists the companies.

The cost of state-level restrictions on abortion to state economies is $105 billion, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The letter marks the largest outcry yet from the business community against Texas’ controversial Senate Bill 8, which effectively bans abortion in Texas. Several other states are considering copycat bills.

Companies can add their name to the letter at the Don’t Ban Equality website.


Now hiring event PR coordinator

We’re hiring!

Brenda Thompson Communications is seeking a part-time Public Relations Coordinator in Austin–being in Austin is a requirement–on a contract basis for 10 hours per week starting now/ASAP through the end of December.

The position is to assist with Austin’s beloved Thanksgiving Day tradition, the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, which is planned as a combo of in-person and virtual this year.

Hours may vary week-to-week; MUST BE available on Thursday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. until noon for an event, and Thanksgiving Day early morning for several hours minimum.

To be considered, please send a letter of interest, resume, references, and one stellar writing sample to

The position offers:

  • $25 per hour, 56 cents per mile reimbursed
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Mostly remote work (meetings via Zoom)
  • Must have all the tech resources required including cell phone and reliable transportation

Public Relations Coordinator duties include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:

  • Create social media posts, including writing and graphics
  • Travel around town to take original photos and video (on a smart phone) for social media
  • Recruit and supervise a costumed mascot to take photos on location
  • Assist with on-site events on specifically Thursday, Nov. 4, 10 a.m. until noon, and on Thanksgiving Day early morning for several hours, possibly others
  • Compile client reports on media coverage, social media, and other activities
  • Conduct internet and other research
  • Organize assets like photos, video

Public Relations Coordinator experience/skills required for this job:

  • Previous similar work experience (internships or professionally)
  • Demonstrated mastery of social media platforms
  • Strong writer with grammar, spelling, punctuation proficiency
  • Basic photography and design skills
  • Organized and detail-oriented
  • Demonstrated responsibility and problem-solving abilities

Happy Pride month! 🏳️‍🌈

Get ready to see lots of rainbow flags, including the newer Progress Pride Flag (as used by American Airlines) that includes black and brown stripes representing people of color and those lost to AIDS, and and white, pink, and light blue stripes representing the colors of the Transgender Flag.

You’ll also see Pride-themed merchandise everywhere this month, from Adidas’ new Love Unites collection, Apple’s new Pride watchbands, the Rainbow Disney collection of everything from masks to stuffed animals, Harry’s Razor’s limited edition rainbow razor, Lego’s Everyone is Awesome set, and much much more.

All of the brands mentioned above dedicate resources to LGBTQ nonprofit organizations as part of their promotions. That’s not the case with every brand that jumps on the Pride bandwagon, though. Brands that stamp a Pride flag on a product but take no positive action (or worse, use it to cover up harmful stances) will rightly be called out for “rainbow-washing.”

My colleague Tina Cannon, president and CEO of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, gets dozens of calls and emails in the week leading up to Pride month from non-member companies wanting to plan something–anything–for Pride at the last minute.

Her response: “So you want to plan for something happening in literally a few days because you failed to plan in advance and now are freaking out? Maybe start by being more intentional for next year about your engagement with the LGBT community all year round.”

“Plantfluencer” Felix Navarro of The Juicy Leaf talks 2021 trends in the LA Times

Yes, plantfluencers are a thing, and in this Los Angeles Times story, Felix Navarro of The Juicy Leaf talks about one of the biggest plant-related trends for 2021: virtual workshops! The boutique shop, which recently moved from Highland Park to Echo Park, started offering live workshops on Instagram at the beginning of the pandemic, and have currently hosted 45 of the now-very popular events for people around the country.




National LGBT Cancer Network joins 350 orgs in supporting Levine appointment

The National LGBT Cancer Network helped bring together a coalition of 350 nonprofit organizations to support the historic appointment of Dr. Rachel Levine, a trans woman, as Assistant Secretary of Health in the new administration. The coalition delivered a letter to the U.S Senate urging Levine’s appointment as the most qualified candidate. “The fact that she is trans is an inspiration for the many of us who have never had a role model this senior before,” says Scout, executive director of the LGBT Cancer Network. “The fact that she is supremely qualified means her trans status, while historic and inspirational, should not be a factor in her confirmation.”


Austin’s Butler Trail in the running for USA Today’s 10Best

The beloved Trail in the heart of Austin, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, is in the running for the USA Today 10Best awards. Currently at #4, you can put them over the top by voting here!

Welcome new client GFO Home!

Brenda Thompson Communications is now the public relations firm for GFO Home, a wildly successful new homebuilder in Austin and Dallas founded by real estate legend Glenn Gehan.

Glenn was the co-founder and CEO of Gehan Homes, one of the 10 largest privately-held homebuilders in the United States. After 25 years, he sold Gehan Homes and in 2018 founded GFO Home in Austin, the hottest real estate market in the country. In just two years, GFO has become the fastest-growing homebuilder in the city and had $280 million in revenue for 2020, only its second full year in business.

GFO Home is known for its team of experienced real estate veterans, and for streamlining and optimizing the process of building and buying high-end homes with modern designs in some of the best communities in and around Austin and Dallas. The company will expand to Houston in the near future.