3712 N. Halsted Street
How long have you worked with Kozy?
I’ve been working for three years in the Lakeview location, but it is my family’s business, so I have always been a retainer employee.
Are you a biker?
I am not a hardcore biker. I am more of a commuter, so sometimes I wear high heels sometimes when I bike.
What was like to work in your family’s store when you were growing up?
Growing up, especially when I was younger, I was usually cleaning or hanging around my dad. I didn’t really appreciate the environment as much as I do now. As I got a little older, I thought, “wow, there are some really good looking guys that work here!” That really helped incentivize me to come into work more. There are some really cool people that work in the company, everyone is, and always has been, so sweet to me and have taken me under their wing. Throughout high school, I really started to appreciate people that ride bikes and repair them. They are not your average worker and aren’t interested in making tons of money, they do it because they love bikes. Yes, the bike business isn’t a lucrative job, but it makes people happy, and there is a lot of self satisfaction in that.
What is your family like?
My dad is actually kind of a ham, he loves going to Kit Kat Lounge, seeing the shows and listening to the music. I also work with my brother and his wife, my sister, my cousin, my other cousin's wife, and my aunts and uncles. It’s fun, we tease each other and have a good time.
Post-highschool, did you plan on carrying on the family business?
I ended up going to college in Southern California, and really had no intention at that time to work for the family business. After college, I moved to Argentina for two years to live abroad. I wanted to experience another culture, so I did. I even learned how to tango! Interestingly, what I noticed there, is that everyone rides their bikes. They don’t ride because it is cool or trendy, but because it is an inexpensive way to get around. Americans look so different than other countries when it comes to bike riding. We have helmets, reflectors, bike shorts, and gloves, and everywhere else people are just weaving through traffic with tons of groceries and bags balanced on their bikes. The reason I moved to all these places, is because I wanted to forge my own path. After six years though, I missed everyone and wanted to move back. I never thought I would be working for my family’s business, but I am actually really happy, and that’s what counts in the end.
What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the neighborhood since you were younger?
I think that there is such a variety of businesses on the street, that it attracts tons of people, not necessarily those who are LGBT identified. A good example is the Pride Parade, going there in high school, compared to now, it is three times as big. There is overwhelming support coming from people outside the community!
Do you go out in Boystown?
I do! I am a pretty high energy person and love to dance. I like to get dressed up, go karaoke and be a spectacle, without caring about it! I feel so comfortable to be myself in Boystown, and it is always a positive experience with everyone.
How do you exude pride everyday?
I think being exposed to this community since I was young has really shaped how I view the world. I have met and interacted with different people, from all walks of life (not to mention a large majority of my friends are in this community), I support the arts here, shop local, vote for politicians that care about equality. I consider myself a strong ally to the community.
Where do you see the future of the community?
In terms of the future, I think it is amazing how comfortable younger people are with their own skin. I am really looking forward to watching future generations being able to reap the benefits of past generations, where it doesn’t have to be a struggle to figure out your identity.
What is something that people would never guess about you?
I like to be a tourist. Similarly to going to a new city and get to explore, I like to that in Boystown. I like to go out by myself, meet new people, there is always something going on!