In 2017, Nicole Damico’s life modified.
Her mom misplaced her battle with most cancers in April of that 12 months, and for Damico, that modified her perspective on how she seen life, and the way she wished to dwell it.
“Obviously, losing my mom was such a pivotal moment in my life, and I didn’t like how my mom turned 65 in February, passed away in April, and never got to enjoy her retirement,” she said. “She missed it, and I hated that for her, because her and my dad had so many plans.”
Her business Keys and Collars was only a “facet hustle” on the time, as Damico labored full-time as a medical biller. About six months earlier than her mother’s demise, she remembers sitting in her driveway with her mother and father and brainstorming methods to flip her love of caring for animals into her business, an concept that was born after a pal requested her to pet-sit whereas she was away. Her mother and father have at all times been her largest supporters, and Damico mentioned they inspired her to pursue her passion.
Now, Keys and Collars lately celebrated its fifth anniversary, and Damico has not solely saved a small business afloat throughout a worldwide pandemic, however she has grown her business to make use of 35 individuals to serve Volusia and Flagler County, in addition to the higher Florida Keys. Damico has future plans to proceed increasing to Tampa, North Georgia and probably Jacksonville.
“This business has been my saving grace,” she mentioned.
Lifting one another up
After her mother’s demise, Damico took three months off her medical billing job, and Keys and Collars, to permit herself time to grieve and course of. Then when she got here again to work, she realized she hated being there.
“I remember sitting at my cubicle job and I was just like, ‘I don’t like feeling stuck here, and working for somebody else,’” she recalled.
Damico spoke with her father and he informed her he would help no matter
“I’m nominating Nicole Damico as a result of via her business, Keys and Collars, she’s not solely made it straightforward for residents of Ormond Beach (and past) to really feel comfy leaving their beloved pets safely at house whereas they journey, however she’s additionally created quite a few jobs in our neighborhood for her pet sitting crew. Nicole’s business has touched so many individuals and pets in a constructive manner, and he or she deserves a Standing O.”
Kristin Heron, curator of Education, Outreach and Exhibitions on the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens
determination she made. Two months later, she took the leap of religion, and celebrated her final day at her medical billing job simply in the future earlier than her one-year anniversary of launching Keys and Collars.
She’s by no means seemed again.
And due to her shoppers and her crew members, a gaggle of dependable, reliable and “goodhearted” individuals, Damico mentioned she loves her job, which has granted her lifelong associates. She’s spent holidays with her shoppers, saved them firm is hospital rooms, helped them run errands or taken them to physician’s appointments. Whatever her shoppers and crew members want, Damico mentioned she tries her greatest to assist.
“I attempt to be that gentle in individuals’s lives as a result of individuals have been that for me,” she mentioned.
The COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in its starting in March of 2020, was a scary interval for Keys and Collars, she shared. As a business proprietor, she was nervous — with individuals not touring and staying house from work, a lot of their common shoppers did not require their providers, and Damico did not need to depend on the federal government for assist; however she nonetheless wished to maintain the corporate afloat.
And so did their common shoppers, she mentioned. Once issues began opening up once more, many employed Keys and Collars to come back stroll their canines though they had been nonetheless working from house.
“We came back tenfold,” Damico said. “It was just something that you think would have held us back actually flinging us forward. Now, we’re busier than ever.”
Damico sports activities 4 tattoos on her arms. On her proper, she has a wave to remind her of a major journey to California, the coordinates of her mother and father house in Ormond Beach and the paw print of her first German shepherd, Troy — a tattoo that matches her dad’s.
On her left arm, she has “Because I like You,” in her mother’s handwriting, taken from a be aware her mom left on high of Damico’s folded laundry in the future.
“I at all times carry that round with me as a reminder to be selfless, and even when somebody tells you to not do one thing, to comply with your coronary heart and assist them when you can,” Damico mentioned.
If she’s going via tough instances, she mentioned she finds serving to individuals helps gas her to maintain going. Today, she bounces away from bed within the morning excited to see the progress of her business. In life, Damico mentioned she believes that we’re given the obstacles to beat to indicate others it’s attainable.
“The whole ‘You’re given the mountains to show other people that they can be moved,’” Damico said. “I truly believe in that statement and I think you need people in your life like that, because you don’t want to feel alone when you’re going through those hard times.”