Today we’d like to introduce you to Apollo Woods.
Apollo, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Born to Melody Woods (Stevenson) in Duncan, Ok, I had dreams of leaving Oklahoma to travel the world and live in Texas. After high school, I began my college education at The University of Tulsa where I pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, (Spring 1998) and eventually transferred to the University of Houston to complete a Bachelor’s in Education and receive an Executive MBA from Texas Southern University. Houston became my second home and I was certain that I would live in Houston the rest of my life. God had another plan!
In 2016, I relocated back to Oklahoma from Houston, TX with my previous employer. My original plan was to work in Oklahoma City for three years and return to Houston or request an international job transfer to Johannesburg, South Africa. Well, God had a different plan. Since 2005, I have owned a marketing consulting business and the plan was to relaunch in Oklahoma City. As I mentioned, God had a different plan. By 2017, OKC Black Eats was created to support Black-owned restaurants, chefs and food trucks in predominately African American communities and stimulate economic growth in local communities. OKC Black Eats continued to flourish at an unexpected pace and local support across OKC was amazing. So, in January 2019, I resigned from my comfortable job in oil and gas to pursue small business consulting in my community full-time. The journey of entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster ride I would not trade for the world. Every day I have an opportunity to serve the Greater OKC Community through my non-profit board member duties with the Leukemia Lymphoma Societ of Oklahoma, Leadership OKC & the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma.
Has it been a smooth road?
In the poem titled “Test Of A Man”, it says “A man when driven against the wall, still stands erect and takes the blows of fate with his head held high, bleeding and bruised and pale, Is the man who will win and fate defied, For he isn’t afraid to fail!” From a distant perspective, those who are not as familiar with me will recognize awards, titles and college degrees but assume my life has been a paved road. In fact, there have been numerous times that I have experienced self-doubt and failure.
When I relocated to Oklahoma City, the social and business network I built and benefitted from no longer existed. It caused feelings of depression and isolation that altered how I viewed myself. I worked in a corporate culture that was toxic, racially prejudice with managers whose behavior was contrary to the mission of the company.
Through all of that, I was always surrounded by friends and family who loved me enough to keep me uplifted. If I would have given up on my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and serving my community, OKC Black Eats would not exist. The countless people I encounter and support from the networking group (BLNOKC) I manage may have not received resources needed to achieve their personal business goals. If I would have given up & focused on the tumultuous road, the NEOKC Developer’s Conference would not exist.
James 1: 1-3 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials and many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the OKC Black Eats, LLC story. Tell us more about the business.
OKC Black Eats, LLC is a marketing consulting agency that provides revenue generating solutions for hospitality professionals and restaurants. Our mission is to continue stimulating the local economy by circulating local dollars in predominately African/Black American communities. OKC Black Eats provides expertise in marketing solutions for culinary professionals, including digital marketing and techniques to improve its clients’ positioning in the marketplace.
We are proud to be the most impactful platform to increase awareness of locally owned culinary businesses in Oklahoma. OKCBE successfully implements marketing campaigns that draw attention to underserved businesses that, in turn, generate streams of income.
Our signature events are The Black Foodie Summit & Showcase, monthly brunch series, Chef Connext, and the newly erected NEOKC Developer’s Conference. Each program is designed with the intention to develop business leaders, create experiences to expand social networks and stimulate economic growth.
What sets OKCBE apart from our competition is simple. We unapologetically support Black-owned restaurants and small businesses in predominately African American communities 24x7x365. Furthermore, our focus is to create an inclusive experience for all ethnic communities as bridge builders that encourage interconnectivity and appreciation for African cultures. In turn, businesses that were once hidden in the shadows are now highlighted on the OKCBE platform and generates new financial opportunities for their business.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Culinarians are definitely challenged to shift from depending on word of mouth marketing to attract new customers. There is a generation of owners that are leaving the industry for a number of reasons and younger restauranteurs are making an entrance. Chefs and caterers are becoming more mobile while leveraging social media to increase brand awareness. This is exciting because, for the food lover, creative cuisines are more accessive than visiting a restaurant location.
Also, plant-based foods are becoming more popular and demanded by customers. It is exciting to have a wide range of menu selections in one location.
In 5-10 years, the food industry will trend back to smaller dining rooms with more non-traditional cuisines. Soul food is now referred to as “comfort food,” depending on your geographic location. Which is a rather interesting detachment from its history to African tribal foods.
- Website: www.okcblackeats.com
- Phone: (405) 286-3806
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/okcblackeats
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/okcblackeats
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/okcblackeats
So Focus Photos by R. Tolar & OKC Black Eats