FAYETTEVILLE N.C. – From a trim, t-shirts and tattoos, to beer and beyond, Kraken-Skulls in Fayetteville isn’t your typical brick-and-mortar business.
After 20 years of military service, Chad wanted to be his own boss.
So, he opened Kraken-Skulls as an outlet that’s since grown into more than half a dozen businesses in one on his “compound” in Fayetteville.
He said he wanted to make a creative, safe space for veterans to feel known and follow their dreams.
“I created this place really for mental health awareness,” Chad said. “I made this place so that when you’re having one of those days, and you’re all the way up here, and you kind of need to take it down a little, this is the place where you can go.”
Over the years, he has become a go-to resource and mentor for local veteran business owners starting out.
“I now have the ability to facilitate people when they’re getting out of the military or they just have an idea to start a business — now they can come to me and I can literally, from start to finish, make them a successful business,” Chad said.
Like Ray St. Peter, who was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, who now runs his own successful pest control business. St. Peter said connections created inside Kraken-Skulls made all the difference.
“I had to feed my family, and in COVID-19, nobody was hiring. I wanted to just try and make it on my own,” St. Peter said. “It’s like an extension of where we’re not made to do it, like in the military, people are made to help you. You do it because you want to and it’s something you want to be a part of.”
Enrique Murillo started a non-profit fighting veteran suicide: Through Tragedy Comes Light.
Murillo works with Chad to coordinate annual fundraisers and a walk to raise awareness for veteran mental health.
“If it wasn’t for the tragic death of my friend, I would not have seen the light to try and fix myself and try to make myself better and give back to the community,” Murillo said. “What [Chad’s] bringing and what we’re bringing together as a community is making an impact starting from here.”
Tattoo artist, and veteran himself, “Flip,” said he doesn’t take for granted the opportunity to grow his art while running Kraken-Skulls’ tattoo shop.
“If you look at the logo, it’s an octopus. It’s got all these different tentacles, for me, means something else,” Flip said. “The tattoo brand, the barber shop, the nail salon, the party bus, the digital creations on t-shirts. This guy’s got his tentacles on everything.”