EUGENE, Ore. --- Many local businesses were forced to shift gears or shut their doors completely during the pandemic.
One woman is sharing her story of success, after defying all odds to make her dreams a reality.
Chelsy Navarro is from a small town in Hawaii called Mākaha on the island of O’ahu. Her journey began in 2012 when she launched a small business of her own.
“People were just handing me business cards,” Navarro said. “The next day, I got a phone call from a friend for a birthday party. I said that this is what I want to do. I’ve always had a passion for cooking. It’s been instilled in me and in my family back home in Hawaii.”
In August of 2019, she launched the Chacha’s Hawaiian Grill food truck in Springfield. When the pandemic started, she started to prepare for the worst.
"I was really nervous and pretty scared,” Navarro said. “This is my income and how we take care of my family."
However, she was one of the lucky ones. Her truck stayed open and received a great amount of business, since restaurants were shutting down left and right.
Then, she got the call of a lifetime. It was the opportunity to open her own restaurant.
"I took the meeting not thinking it was going to happen, because we are in the middle of a pandemic,” Navarro said.
Less than two weeks ago, the restaurant doors for Chacha’s opened.
“It’s been a really tough year for a lot of people,” Navarro said. “The fact that I’m able to do this in the middle of all this craziness happening in the world. We couldn't do it without our customers, friends and family. I'm really grateful to be here.”
However, the journey hasn’t been easy and she said she misses home.
For Chacha’s, it’s about more than Hawaiian cuisine. It’s about family.
“When you walk through the doors here at Chacha’s, we want you to feel like you’re on our little island -- our little island of Hawaii,” Navarro said. “We’re going to give you that taste of Aloha.”
Navarro’s brother, Kaynoa Lasconia, has been by her side since the very beginning.
“Our intellect and the way we connect is unbounded,” Lasconia said. “The love is endless. I’ve got her back. She’s got mine until the wheels fall off.”
There is another very special person in Navarro’s life that keeps her pushing, even on the most difficult of days.
“Son, if you’re watching -- mommy wants you to know that I do this for you every day,” Navarro said. “I just want to make you proud, son. I love you. This is for him. This is to show him that hard work, dedication and respect -- this is how you do it. I want to make him proud.”
Navarro said she’s not done with the food truck world and hopes to cater at summer events, if it is safe to do so.
“Don't let anyone tell you can't do it," Navarro said. "Keep fighting every day for what you want."
Chacha’s Hawaiian Grill is located at 1777 Coburg Road in Eugene.