Overcoming being homeless to now become the owner of Pita Pit

Published: Aug. 5, 2018 at 7:29 PM CDT
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"I shouldn't be here with a lot of the things that I have gone through, I really should not be here and I am very thankful for everything I have," said Tyler Skavlem.

When you take a look at Tyler Skavlem you would never think that at one point in his life he hit rock bottom.

"Ended up trying to move out to Washington on my own and that's kind of when things started getting a little tough for me. I went there on the promise of a construction job and there was nobody there, and nobody knew I was coming," said Skavlem.

Skavlem instantly found himself in a dilemma thousands of miles away from home, because he only had money for a one way ticket for that construction job in Washington.

"2 months or so, having no place to live, like no place to live. No car, no bed, I mean I had a concrete pillow for a while," said Skavlem.

As if being homeless wasn't enough for Skavlem, he got news that his father was suffering from a rare liver disease. He made his trek back to North Dakota to care for his father with little to nothing, up until his father had passed away.

"I've got a beautiful family and I do everything for them, I'm the last person I do any of this for," said Skavlem.

"Seeing it actually happen right now is not just such a relief, but it's a lot of excitement for him because I see how happy he is," said Jody Lopez, Skavlem’s girlfriend.

Around the time his father passed Skavlem also welcomed his first child into the world. His first child was the wakeup call he says he needed, to push through adversity he was facing.

"There's a lot of people in this world to meet, there is a lot of people in this world to care about, there is a lot of people in this world to help, and there is a lot of people in this world to feed," explained Skavlem.

Skavlem then began working at Pita Pit in Grand Forks for several years. His current boss is now giving him an opportunity of a life time to become the owner of the store.

"If you had been in my shoes at the time this would never even be on the horizon, this would never even be a goal that I would set for myself," said Skavlem.

His advice to anyone who is going through a similar situation is simple.

"There is always some where to turn, there is always somewhere to go, there is always something you can be doing for yourself, there is always something you can do, you just have to dig deep," said Skavlem.

"I didn't have anyone to turn to and when I didn't have anyone to turn to you turn inward on yourself, and you just start asking yourself the tough question. What am I going to do, how am I going to get out of this," said Skavlem.

He says with hard work and dedication there is no limit to your success.

"Have your big goal in mind and set small incremental goals on the way up, so it still feels like your accomplishing something," said Skavlem.

Embarking upon his first business venture Skavlem wants to thank everyone along the way who helped him to where he is today.

"I feel like I have the whole city of Grand Forks on my back honestly, and they know I am here for them too," said Skavlem.

Tyler Skavlem will take ownership of the Pita Pit on September 5th. He also says that he has plans to pay it forward by helping kids with disabilities in the future and the St. Jude's mission.