2 Chicago businesses reflect on stepping out of their comfort zones, helping during pandemic

When the pandemic created shortages in supply, businesses stepped up – in many cases creating new products overnight.

On Wednesday, FOX 32's Brittany Garzillo revisited two Chicago businesses that pivoted for the betterment of the community. Both were proud to play a part in history and are eager to start a new chapter when the state fully reopens on Friday.


Inside Dimo's Pizza in Wicker Park, employee Eyleen Chavez knows just the right time and temp for that perfect slice. But about a year ago, she was cooking up a different recipe in high demand.

Last year, for at least five months, the pizza shop used its ovens to make about 5,000 acrylic face shields.

"We were cranking out maybe like over 100 to 200 a day," said Chavez.

About half were donated, many to frontline workers.

Now, the shop is back to pizza full-time and the owner is counting down the days to the full reopening, but he says he will keep one ingredient with him – the notion that if they can do that, they can do anything.

That sentiment echoed at Koval Distillery in Ravenswood.

"It gave us an opportunity to give back in a way that we had never imagined," said Sonat Birnecker Hart, the Co-founder of Koval Distillery.

When the pandemic hit, the distillery transitioned from making spirits to making more than 10,000 gallons of hand sanitizer – much of which was donated.

"It was a really amazing experience to be able to pivot and help the community," said Hart.

Koval no longer makes the hand sanitizer, but the co-founder says it is one product she is most proud of. Now, her focus is on the distillery's recent reopening to the public – another sign of life as we used to know it.

"Were very excited because each step is a celebration," said Hart. "And we've got the drinks to celebrate it with."