WSSU grad works with CSEM, Tate Consulting on economic mobility

Quinton Benson on site with his photo equipment.

WSSU grad works with CSEM, Tate  Consulting on economic mobility
April 30
00:45 2020

By John Railey, Center for the Study of Economic Mobility

For Quinton Benson, it all started that day he saw the boy in the grocery store.

That was back in the spring of 2014. Benson, then a student at Winston-Salem State University, was working a cash register at the Food Lion on New Walkertown Road to put himself through school. A boy of 9 or 10 was trying to pay for some items, but did not understand how the sales tax worked. The boy’s mother did not understand either, but cussed her son out, right in front of Benson.

Benson, who grew up on the poverty line in Spartanburg, S.C., felt terrible for the boy and decided to do something to help youth like him. So began a journey that now finds Benson with his own branding and photography company. He is a player in economic mobility efforts in East Winston, including through his work with Center for the Study of Economic Mobility (CSEM) and Tate Consulting. It is a partnership that promises to be a win for all.

In high school, Benson said, he was a class clown until he was fortunate to have a teacher take an interest in him, introducing him to Photoshop, the standard software for graphics editing. Benson found his talent. By the time he encountered the boy while working in the grocery store, he knew he wanted to return the favor by helping others find their talent. He started a student group at WSSU, Young C.H.I.E.F.S. (Children Helping Influence & Eliminate Future Statistics). The group went door-to-door in East Winston, meeting boys and girls and mentoring them.

As Benson did so, he advanced in his studies. Through one of his WSSU professors, Endia Beal, he met Carol Davis, who runs the Enterprise Center on Martin Luther King Drive. He graduated in 2016, and soon thereafter, he set up Royalty Branding,, in the Enterprise Center. 

Davis said: “Quinton Benson is a talented photographer and graphic design graduate who runs The Enterprise Center Digital Media Studio while doing work for his clients and helping other visual artists with their work.”     

Benson liked the idea of having his company based in East Winston. “When I first got up here, it reminded me so much of home, the bleak poverty,” Benson said. Educational and financial gains remain low, Benson said, and he wants to make a difference.

He met Antwain and Andrea Goode, who also run their business from the Enterprise Center. The Goodes operate Tate Consulting, which helps businesses improve their game. Early this year, Tate signed a contract with CSEM Associate Director Alvin Atkinson to provide business training courses for WSSU students, business vets and others, the “Playbook for Entrepreneurial Excellence.” The Goodes realized they’d need someone to teach business branding to the class, and that Benson would be ideal.

“We needed a minority business leader who could deliver a clear branding platform and build community awareness,” Dr. Antwain Goode said. “Andrea has over 25 years of experience in marketing and branding. She saw this talented leader in the Enterprise Center, and we both decided to share the significance of small business success.”

They knew that Benson, making it with his own business, had earned this work from them and CSEM, and that both his talent and experience would behoove their students.

Benson sat in on two classes before the pandemic restrictions were put in place. “We just talked about the necessities of logo development, what homework they would have to do to figure out what they would need to design their logo,” Benson said.

Once the restrictions are lifted, he’ll resume meeting with the students. “We’ll be helping them with brand identity,” he said. “They’ll have a logo, cards, flyers and a retractable banner. I’m helping them develop the look and feel for their company for consumers.”

Antwain Goode said, “Mr. Benson has a unique slogan: ‘Building Big Brands for Small Businesses.’ We are confident that his expertise will solidify each class participant’s company and they will have platforms to serve the community.”

For now, Benson, like everybody else, is enduring the pandemic restrictions. His business is down 50%, he said, because of cancelations of events he photographs, such as weddings. He still has plenty of digital work to do at home, however. He will keep going, as always.

And he will keep thinking of the boy he met at his cash register that day, the boy he could see himself in.

John Railey can be reached at

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