Durham Vet: 'I Can Kill Myself, I Can Run Away, Or I Can Push Through And Make It A Success'

Jan 25, 2014

Matt Victoriano and Robin Young in front of Matt's new business, Intrepid Life Coffee & Spirits
Credit Robin Young via Twitter / Here & Now

A Marine Corps vet is receiving national attention for his attempts to open a small business in Durham, North Carolina.

The radio show Here & Now has been following Matt Victoriano's story since last October. The program's host, Robin Young, met Victoriano at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Victoriano had served in Iraq and had been a sniper team leader. Since then he's been coping with post traumatic stress while trying to open a small business.

Young conducted an interview with Victoriano in October. Listen to it now:

At that time Victoriano told Young that he was finding it hard to get financing for a new business:

It’s extremely, extremely difficult to get financing. I don’t know how many times people have asked, ‘Why don’t you use the V.A.’s small business loan?’ And I’m like, ‘They don’t have one.’

Matt Victoriano has worked out the details, and his new business opens this weekend. It's called Intrepid Life Coffee and Spirits. A combination coffee shop and bar, it is located at 106 W. Parrish Street in Durham. He opened the business with a family loan.

Robin Young was in Durham on the weekend of the opening. She conducted another interview with Victoriano.  Hear it now:

When I started this, I was like, ‘I’m a veteran, I can do anything. Look at what I did in the military. I can accomplish anything.’ And time dragged on. Money went away. Everything was a problem … And then I got to a point where I thought, ‘It can’t get any worse. I’m gonna lose the space. I’m gonna get divorced. Nobody likes me. I failed at this. The inspection failed. What am I doing?’

And then, that left me the choice: I can kill myself, I can run away, or I can push through it and make it a success.

After those failures, I couldn’t keep looking at people and saying, ‘I’m a badass,’ because I wasn’t. I messed a lot of things up. And so at that point, I had to laugh and be like, ‘Yeah, I messed it up, but I’m gonna keep going until I can’t go anymore.’” -Matt Victoriano