CHICAGO (CBS) — There are countless stories of people who had to pivot and start over when the pandemic upended their lives and jobs.
CBS 2 is Working for Chicago with a story of a man who navigated the pandemic and became a success story.READ MORE: At Least 2 Killed, 17 Wounded In Weekend Shootings In Chicago
“This is my store,” said Jimmy Ochoa. “It’s exciting. I get happy. I get fulfillment.”
Ochoa spent 20 years with the Navy. He enlisted as a sailor and worked his way up to officer, but after he retired, like so many veterans, he found himself wondering ‘what next?’
He seized an opportunity to open a store of his own in Bensenville after noticing a five-mile radius without UPS. But this was at the height of the pandemic.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Storms Coming Sunday
“Super hard. Everyone’s on lockdown. No one is out shopping. Everyone is at home,” Ochoa said. “Twice as hard to create that market awareness that, ‘Hey I’m new. We’re here. Come check us out.'”
So he got creative with raffles. He held Facebook live videos to give gift cards to other businesses.
The vet has almost perfect reviews online. What is his secret? He said it is attention to detail, creating experiences and kindness.
“We’re a happy store. We have balloons. We got flowers,” he said. “It’s the golden rule: Treat people with respect the way you wish they’d treat your mother or your father.”MORE NEWS: 5 People, Including 2 Children, Injured In South Shore Apartment Fire
He just celebrated the store’s one-year anniversary Thursday, but the balloons are always there — just another part of his customer service.