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Brothers in Poland yuck it up as podcast and business partners

Staff photo / Lily Nickel.... Brothers Luke, left, and Isaac Schuster created a make-shift podcast station at the front of their Nationwide Mortgage Bankers office in Poland to produce their show, The MLO Bros.

POLAND — Brothers Isaac and Luke Schuster say they always have been outspoken, but they took that label to new heights when they started a podcast to address issues in Poland.

By day, Isaac, 27, and Luke, 42, are both mortgage loan officers for Nationwide Mortgage Bankers, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at them, or even their office.

The Schuster brothers do not fit into typical mortgage loan officer molds while dressed in their work uniform of backward baseball caps, gym shorts and T-shirts that show off Luke’s Star Wars tattoos.

“Your classic bankers are suit and tie, and we take pride in being everyday guys that you can relate to,” Isaac said.

A large print of a balrog from Lord of the Rings, a replica of “Lucille the baseball bat” from popular TV show “The Walking Dead” and a flag from their alma mater, South Range, all hang on their walls. At first glance, you could mistake these items for miscellaneous decorations, but each artifact represents a side of them: the self-proclaimed “nerdy” side, the hometown pride side and the media consumer-turned-creator. Nothing about their office says “ordinary,” and they like it that way.

While their day jobs are nothing out of the ordinary, by night they transform into podcast hosts of The MLO Bros. Isaac came up with the idea because of the lack of business they and other local companies were experiencing during the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020.

The idea snowballed into an impactful and well-loved show that brought in nearly 4,000 Facebook followers so far and nearly 2,000 listeners every Tuesday and Thursday night. They knew they couldn’t take advantage of their suddenly much larger platform, so they decided to use it for good.

“It snowballed into a ‘holy crap, we have a say in something’ and we have to use this platform for good because people care what we think; they listen to our opinion,” Luke said.

Luke noticed a lack of communication between local government officials and the people they serve, along with a lack of accountability, so now they stream council meetings, board meetings and have hosted candidate forums for the upcoming election. They also run community Facebook pages such as Everything Poland, Ohio, where residents can air their issues and mingle with one another.

GIVING BACK

A podcast with such a following is sure to bring in a cash flow, but the brothers haven’t kept a dime. Part of their mission with the podcast is to give back to local businesses and people who need it in the Mahoning Valley. They’ve sponsored sports teams and individual players and they estimate that they’ve given nearly $16,000 to various charities and organizations in the area in the past two years.

Last Thanksgiving, the brothers gave out 500 turkeys to anyone who needed one. In typical Schuster brother fashion, they made the event into a performance by dressing in pilgrim and turkey costumes — at one point, Isaac even danced in his pilgrim costume on the corner of College Street to gain attention when they were left with hundreds of turkeys with only a few hours left in the day. He recalls it as his favorite memory thus far.

BROTHER BIOS

While their dedication to improving their community might suggest they were born and raised within the village, the brothers were raised in North Lima and attended South Range. Luke graduated in 1997 and his name still remains in the school’s football hall of fame, while Isaac graduated in 2012 with years of basketball and soccer under his belt.

Luke attended Westminster College and Isaac went to Youngstown State University. Luke moved to Poland in 2007 with his now wife, Maggie, a teacher at McKinley Elementary. They have three sons under 10: Lucas, Cameron and Ben.

Isaac followed suit nine years later in 2016 and lives in the village with his wife, Shelby, and their dachshund, Marshall. Isaac pointed out that Marshall won the weiner dog race at the Canfield Fair, and the trophy proudly sits in the corner of their out-of-the-ordinary office.

Isaac is the youngest and Luke the oldest, with two sisters in between. Their 15-year age gap never raised an issue between them, but it did raise a few eyebrows. The pair are often mistaken for father and son or uncle and nephew, but the two said their relationship couldn’t be anymore brotherly. In typical younger brother fashion, Isaac did everything his older brother did, but he may have followed a bit more closely than some.

Luke started his morgtage loan officer career 20 years before Isaac, and he hired Isaac to work in his satellite Nationwide Mortgage office once he set up shop in Poland in 2019 after bouncing around from different bank jobs. He said he never really fit the suit-and-tie banker persona and wanted to be his own boss. In the office, Luke is Isaac’s boss, but after hours when it comes time to record the podcast, they say they’re partners, but even partners argue from time to time.

“We’ve always gotten along but we butt heads, I mean it’s tough working with your brother,” Isaac said. While their sibling relationship sometimes creates an unusual workplace dynamic, the two say they balance each other out; Isaac is the dreamer, and Luke is the go-getter.

The brothers’ involvement in the community is growing with every podcast and every event, and they hope to continue to benefit the village they now call home through their donations and advocacy– all with a little bit of edge.

To suggest a Saturday profile, contact features editor Burton Cole at bcole@tribtoday.com or metro editor Marly Reichert at mreichert@tribtoday.com.

lnickel@vindy.com

https://search-prod.lis.state.oh.us/solarapi/v1/general_assembly_134/bills/hb206/IN/00/hb206_00_IN?format=pdf

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