News 6 executive Phil Deems opened an Apopka brewery during the pandemic. Here’s how he did it

Corie Murray’s ‘Black Men Sundays’ podcast focuses on business, finance and building generational wealth

This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews Phil Deems, the business development and creative director at News 6. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – In the era of business startups, it’s hard to know where to begin.

How much should you have saved in the bank? What’s a good credit score? Can you build wealth without real estate?

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This week on “Black Men Sundays,” host Corie Murray interviews Phil Deems, News 6’s business development and creative director and co-owner of Three Odd Guys Brewing in Apopka, who brings his more than 33 years of experience in the television industry to the table to answer these questions and more.

To Deems, persistence is the key ingredient for those interested in owning a business.

“No matter what... your starting point, let’s just start with, ‘You can get it done,’” he said. “In the grand scheme of things, it does take a good credit score. It takes some planning.”

For the business executive, his journey started with planting a stake in real estate. A $60,000 condo in Orlando, to be exact.

“Real simple purchase... Then I sold that probably 3 years later, and made 30 grand,” Deems said. “So that was my first adventure into trying to build my brand and my wealth... As a guy whose 49 years of age right now I just don’t know of anything else that is as simple and expected as real estate.”

Aside from that, Deems also transfers his skill sets developed from decades in the television industry to the business world.

“At Graham Media Group, we have our own in-house agency coordinators and over the years, we’ve developed a formula for brands, to help build brands—one is grab attention, connect emotionally... So those (points are) what I live my life by. And I always tell people, ‘Advertising is life.’ Think about it. When I want to get a job, what am I doing? I’m advertising myself, I’m marketing myself.”

And in the process of helping others build their brands, Deems also built his own, a move he said is essential to getting anywhere with a business.

His started in a Central Florida garage with three or four friends. Since then, its survived a pandemic that shuttered the doors of so many other breweries, restaurants and bars across the country.

“I think what we did, as 3 Odd Guys Brewing really, we moved in at a time when it was right. There was nothing going on here in the city that we live in. So we said, ‘Let’s seize this opportunity to open up our business.’ There was nothing else around,” Deems said. “Now, here comes the pandemic... 4 or 5 months from opening it up.”

So, the group of aspiring business owners focused on the things they could control.

“You go out and you talk to your (councilperson), city council, you go out and you talk to the DBPR (Department of Business and Professional Regulation). And you go out to talk to government officials and say, ‘I gotta open my business, let’s talk,’” Deems said. “So, you have to look for those opportunities... some of the best times to buy are when the market is in bad shape, right?”

While it took Deems and his business partners 6 months longer than expected to establish the foundation, they had a singular goal holding them together.

“One of the things we did on the front end, this is very important in everything: Set an expectation,” he said. “So when you go into a partnership with somebody, I will be honest with you, it’s never going to be what you expect. It’s not rainbows, it’s not smooth... Everybody has their opinion. But one of the things that you can always fall back to is the expectation.”

Deems credits that expectation for helping the business get off its feet in what was a particularly vulnerable time for the food and drink industry.

But starting a brewery with his buddies only provides a glimpse into the wealth of business knowledge Deems’ multi-faceted experiences have earned him over the years.

“I am not the expert... but I will tell you this. What has worked for me is telling myself, ‘You can’t just spend money every month, right? And you can’t just not have a plan, you can’t not have a spreadsheet,’” Deems said. “So, the key for me and my advice for anybody. One: Listen to the experts. Listen to the folks that are better and heed their advice... Note your extremes. What can you handle? What are you OK with because frankly, not all of us are as good at getting over fear as others... How can I find other streams of revenue that will support me? (and) don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Black Men Sundays talks about building generational wealth. Check out every episode in the media player below:

About the Authors:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.