In 1972, Octavio Cardona traveled to New York from Colombia to start a new life. With little money he worked odd jobs until he found himself a job at a factory making fabric in Brooklyn, NY. In 1979, he found employment as a superintendent in a six apartment building complex in Long Beach, New York, making $119 dollars a week. With his wife Rosa Cardona and young son in tow they began their new venture. Years later, now a father of two, he was promoted to a much larger apartment building called The Beach House in Long Beach. Here is where his good friend gave him his first key cutting machine. He found his niche, there is where he started teaching himself about the craft of locksmithing which he now masters today.
Octavio and Rosa worked hard every day showing their young children the value of hard work. While Octavio was going to night school in New York City to obtain his locksmith license, he would leave at 4:00 am to catch the train and not come back until late at night. Rosa attended to the responsibilities of the building and to the needs of their two young kids so he could get his training. Making sure the garbage was picked up on every floor, the hallways were cleaned and the lobby was mopped were no ordinary chores for children. For that reason Octavio’s kids have learned the value of hard work and have excelled in their own professional lives. The determination and focus to become a better man and to build a better life for his family was the driving force to his business success.
His first investment was a small work van that the family now calls “ Ol’ Faithful” and there is where he ventured off doing local service calls. When he was finally able to support his family full time and purchase his first home, like a true entrepreneur, he took a risk and opened up a shop in Oceanside which he named Chardonas Key Lock Service, Inc. The vision never stopped, even with English being his second language he was able to overcome any obstacles and barriers that came his way. With his son by his side his business began to flourish. The business expanded from one work truck to a fleet of work vans and employees, providing residential service calls to local customers and landing large commercial accounts. There was no limit to where his drive was going to lead him.
After many years his son José would go off to run his own successful business called No Limit Auto Body, leaving his second child Vanneza the opportunity to help run the business. With the guidance and mentorship of her father and brother, Vanneza was able to find her niche in this business. Together they have continued to build Chardonas by relocating and purchasing their building now situated in Island Park. With growing success Chardonas Key Lock Service, Inc. has now become one of the tri-states’ largest locksmith companies.
Now certified as Minority and Women Owned Enterprise by New York, the sky is the limit. Octavio Cardona hard work and ambition is the foundation of the business he built.