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JALC Staff Member and Small Business Owner Testifies Before House Veteran’s Affairs Committee

Published on December 11, 2023

Chris Maynor speaking to the House Veterans Affairs Committee

John A. Logan College’s Chris Maynor wears many hats. In addition to working in the College’s Maintenance Department, he is a Commander with District 15 of the Illinois VFW, a small business owner, and has volunteered on several Southern Illinois Honor Flights.

A veteran of the United States Army, he joined the Illinois National Guard out of high school, and then after a semester at John A. Logan College, he decided to go on active duty with the Army. He traveled the world for the next fourteen years, including three tours in Iraq. During his final tour in Iraq, he was injured by shrapnel.

After leaving the military, he worked out of state for a few years and then returned to southern Illinois and John A. Logan College. He studied HVAC, and after graduation, he went to work for a local heating and air company. Two years ago, he had the opportunity to return to JALC, this time as an employee in the Maintenance Department.

He and his wife, Chelsea, wanted to start a small business. They had an idea for a men’s clothing store in southern Illinois that catered to all sizes and style preferences.

After bad experiences with online orders and having to travel out of the area to find clothes for Chris, they decided to open a store in southern Illinois that provided affordable and stylish clothing.

Both began taking classes in JALC’s Small Business Management Program and opened Daniel Deans in Murphysboro this fall.

“I got tired of ordering something that didn’t fit and then having to send it back only to get the right size two weeks after I needed it,” said Maynor. “We decided to open a store, and we used the training we received in sales, customer service, and marketing that we learned at John A. Logan College to get it off the ground. We really could not have done this without those classes.”

The couple has seen immediate success and are already planning to expand.  They also began working with Jim’s Formal Wear to add tuxedo rentals to their business model.

“We know how stressful it can be for the bride and groom to get everyone measured before their wedding,” said Chelsea Maynor. “To make this as stress-free as possible, we have started going on-site to measure the entire wedding party at one time. So, if all the guys want to get together for a cookout or meet at a local restaurant or bar, we will come to them to get their measurements.”

Their work was recently recognized by Congressman Mike Bost, who asked Chris to speak to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

“We almost didn’t respond to the call because we didn’t think it was real,” said Maynor. “But it was real, and I found myself talking to Congress about veteran-owned businesses and businesses that hire veterans alongside Home Depot and Walmart.’

He testified to Congress about the importance of letting veterans know about grants and other opportunities for veterans to start small businesses.

“We were fortunate because we had help from our instructors here at the College, and we also had help from the Small Business Incubator at SIU, but not everyone knows about those opportunities, and that is what we must do. We must communicate these opportunities more clearly and make the process easier,” added Maynor.

John A. Logan College President Dr. Kirk Overstreet is proud of Maynor for his work at the College and his efforts to give back to the community.

“I am happy for Chris and his family. He has worked very hard and continues to give back to his fellow veterans and the community,” said Overstreet. “I am just thankful that we have been able to offer a program that has helped them along this journey.”

For many years, the United States Army used the slogan, “Be All You Can Be.”  Chris Maynor has certainly lived up to this mantra. He is currently planning to add one more hat to his busy life as he contemplates a run for Statewide Commander of the Illinois VFW. If he decides to do that, he certainly knows a place where he can find a stylish and quality hat.