Entrepreneur of the year award

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – Business owners across the country had to figure out how to stay afloat when the pandemic hit. After indoor dining shut down, many restaurants couldn’t take the hit.

Victor Fuentes operates several of the family-owned El Toro restaurants. Plus, he’s the owner of the Wheelhouse in St. Joseph, The Pink Pig in Ogden, and Willow Creek Farm Wedding and Events Venue in Urbana.

But when the pandemic hit, all of those businesses were impacted. He knew he had to find a new way to generate income.

That’s why he started DECA construction. An extension of his current business DECA real estate. Now, all of his hard work is being recognized by Parkland College. He’s been awarded the entrepreneur of the year.

“When he said that I was being awarded, I thought he had been mistaken. So, you know I’m very appreciative and humble at the same time. The people who got it before me, I do not believe that I’m the same ram as they are. But I am grateful,” he said.

His words of advice is to believe in yourself, have faith you can do it, work hard and never be afraid to ask for help.

Fuentes is being honored Wednesday night at the I-hotel. This is even more special, because this ceremony was supposed to happen back in 2020, but then the pandemic hit.

Parkland College said Fuentes has now technically held the title the longest out of anyone.

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