Answer When Opportunity Calls with Mary McGinn #71


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The podcast guest for today is Mary McGinn who is one of the co-owners of The Nook. Located in the Milk District, The Nook is an awesome bar that focuses on building community in Orlando. They do this by cultivating fun events by others in the community and creative talented people. Some of the events you’ll see are things like vinyl nights, poetry slams, and even movie nights.

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Hailing from Texas, Mary has made her home in Orlando now for about 10 years. Throughout that time, Mary has made her name for her knowledge of the craft beer and bar industry and as a writer and supporter of the creative community. A couple of years ago, an opportunity to be a co-owner of her own bar came to Mary and soon The Nook took form.

Opportunities came from Mary’s connections in the community

The opportunity came from Mary’s connections in the Orlando community, specifically the bar scene. Matt Scott, the owner of Sandwich Bar, which occupied The Nook’s space previously decided to find a larger event space down the street.

Since Sandwich Bar would no longer occupy the space, the owner reached out to Danny Alverez who owns Framework Coffee House to see if he wanted to put a concept in the space. Interested, Danny reached out to Mary who he collaborated with in the past. Her knowledge of the craft beer industry was a perfect fit for the project.

With Mary on board, they also brought in Matt Duke as the third business partner on the project. Matt could draw events to The Nook because of his connection to the creative community. Mary knew Matt would be perfect based on work she did with him at Artborne Magazine in the past.

After the paperwork was officially signed, The Nook opened two weeks later.

Once the ownership team was established and the paperwork signed, The Nook was opened within two weeks.

The Nook has taught Mary a lot about business ownership

Time management has been the biggest challenge for Mary as she runs The Nook. Luckily, they have been able to pay off what they owe to buy out the business as they make money off of it. This meant that they also put all the money they made from The Nook towards the loan they owned. After 15 months they all have finally been able to take a salary as the loan is now paid.

However, while they were not taking in a salary, work still had to get done. This posed a challenge to Mary. She needed to put time into The Nook to get it off the ground but she also needed to bring in money to pay herself. So after working 40 hours or more at The Nook, she would take on other projects and freelance work to pay her bills.

Now, The Nook is in the black and Mary and the other owners are able to take a salary from The Nook’s earnings.

The Nook’s owners have drawn from their own communities to help create awesome events

When it comes to the events at The Nook, it’s all based on community support. “We all pulled from our community,” Mary told me when the sought out events, “and then our community just started recommending events.”

Mary, and the other Nook’s owners have all been in Orlando for a pretty long time. Each of them connects to different Orlando communities. Danny is a musician and is in the coffee scene. Matt is a fine artist. Mary connects with local writers and the craft beer community.

When The Nook opened, they each reached out to their communities for help. They wanted events in the space. Word of mouth spread the news and soon they were hosting events nearly every night of the week.

Now they have events at The Nook all the time. Check out their Facebook page to see what is coming up. You can catch things like poetry, hip hop events, and vinyl nights. They event do movies in the back monthly.

Mary has a huge love and appreciation of the craft beer industry

Mary’s career in the craft beer industry started in a biker bar in Texas when she was 18. There she learned about some of the local beers on tap. It sparked an interest in local flavors of brews.

So when she arrived in Orlando a few years later, she aimed for a job at Orlando Brewing, the only local brewery in town at the time. She got the job a few days after her 21st birthday. At Orlando Brewery, Mary learned “I had a nuanced interest in the beverage industry, specifically in beer,” she said.

Over the past 10 years, Mary continues to cultivate community with other craft breweries. “I’m obsessed with the community,” she told me. “The craft beer industry is so different than any other community out there. Instead of butting heads with each other. They collaborate. Breweries will come together and brew together.”

The craft beer community itself helps fuel Mary’s passion for the beer. She loves the people that are in it. There are a lot of creative people who want to experiment and try different things. More than that, though, they are educating the public with their knowledge, love, and passion for beer.

“If people weren’t collaborating and working together, the culture wouldn’t have been established,” Mary told me. “People would still be drinking Budlite They turned people onto it and started educating and working together.”

This lead to a is a huge culture of craft beer fans who want to try different breweries and new types of craft beer. That’s why the industry has grown so much in the past decade.

However, in this male-dominated field, “people often underestimate how educated I am,” Mary said. “They often assume that I don’t know things about the product.”

Their opinions of Mary don’t stop her though. She said, ” I am ok with that because I like to surprise people and subvert their expectations when they’re wrong,” she said.

Mary often has multiple projects going on at the same time

In addition to projects at The Nook, Mary has other clients and projects she works on. Because the work is varied, Mary is able to stay interested and motivated. If one project is lags and progress stalls, she can switch to another one and move forward.

Mary is a creative person who loves to write in addition to her endeavors as an entrepreneur. She says she “procrastinates” and switches between creative projects to keep it interesting. This way if the creative juices dry up in one area, she can focus on another one where they can flow for a while in another area.

In addition to running The Nook, Mary is a writer and has done a lot of creative projects in that discipline. Procrastinating one creative pursuit with another is something Mary likes to do to keep things interesting. It keeps her engaged and when the creative juices dry up from one activity, she can switch to another until she recharges a bit.

Plus, Mary has the confidence to keep moving forward even if she might fail. She told me a piece of advice that has stuck with her over the years is to “fail face first.”

She encourages others to do the same too. Whenever you want to do something, Mary says just do it, “and if you mess up who cares?”

This fearless attitude is what helps fuel Mary’s drive towards all her goals and ambitions.

About Mary McGinn

Mary McGinn is an Orlando based entrepreneur and professional creative. Her current ventures include The Nook on Robinson (a Florida focused craft beer bar in The Milk District), Dead Beat Books (a pop-up used bookstore), and The City Brewtiful Project (an non-profit calendar featuring females in local beer that benefits Harbor House of Central Florida). Mary is also a freelance writer, photographer and digital communications manager. In her spare time she likes to cook, visit local breweries, and pet doggos. Mary’s adventures can be found on Instagram at @mc__mcginn.

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