Welcome to PeterPalivos.com
Welcome to PeterPalivos.com
Peter was born on February 23, 1958 to Angelo Palivos and Bessie Palivos. Both were devout Christians who required all of their children to attend church services every Sunday.
Palivos comes from very humble beginnings. The Palivos family, which consisted of six members, lived in a single bedroom apartment in Uptown Chicago, Illinois. This area consisted of a diverse and low-income population.
Palivos credits his toughness and success to having a strong family foundation and being raised in a diverse community. Palivos stated "this dynamic reality taught me how to work with people of all backgrounds and cultures. It also taught me how to survive."
Palivos' first job at age 7 was shoe shining shoes at the Benettes Shoe Repair and Cleaners Store, which his parents owned at 1131 W. Lawrence Avenue, Chicago. Palivos learned the value of hard work through shining shoes after school and on the weekends. For each shoeshine he earned 25 cents. He said, “Working from that early age taught me to have a good work ethic and to respect the value of a dollar."
By the time Palivos was 10-years-old he had shined hundreds of pairs of shoes, but one transaction stands out amongst the rest. He was offered a pair of tickets to attend a televised broadcast of a Muhammad Ali boxing match at the Aragon Ballroom in exchange for a shoeshine, which he readily accepted. “I spent 30 minutes on those shoes and they were shining like mirrors”, recalled Palivos. With the two fight tickets, he and his brother went to the broadcast’s location and stood in a line with hundreds of adults attempting to get inside. An employee of the establishment shouted for any person without a ticket to leave because the venue had been sold out. When Palivos did not leave the line, the employee asked him if he had tickets? Palivos proudly pulled the two tickets from his pocket. Before he was able to redeem them, an adult desperate to watch the fight rushed over to Palivos and offered him $20 for the tickets. Palivos accepted the offer and sold his two tickets for $20.
“I earned 25 cents in tips shining shoes. To me $20 was a fortune. I felt like a millionaire.”
Taking his newfound wealth Palivos and his brother went to the nearby SearsRobuck store and purchased the largest model train set available. The boys rushed home and discovered there was a problem. The family apartment was far too small to accommodate such a large train set and they were unable to play with it. For years that train set sat in a corner, untouched, as a glaring and constant uncomfortable reminder of the family’s poverty.
By age 14, Palivos had graduated from shoe shining to selling hotdogs in a mobile hot dog stand, outside of Wrigley Field. At that time, Wrigley Field was the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team during the summer and the Chicago Bears Football team during the winter. Palivos loved working outside of Wrigley Field during the summer but hated working during the winter. What motivated Palivos the most in the winter was for him to sell his hotdogs as quickly as possible so he could leave the bitter cold and go home. The hot dog venture was very profitable, until one day, the hot dog stand blew up because of an accident. This resulted in Palivos sustaining serious life long injuries. This accident was reported by the Chicago News. After that accident, Palivos never worked selling hot dogs again.
Palivos says that his best memory of being raised in the Uptown community was he "learned to work with all people and played the beautiful game called soccer with many people from many different backgrounds."
Peter's mother Bessie tending to the family hotdog stand days before it exploded.
Virgil Ross serviced hats inside the Palivos' family shoe store. He was an early friend and mentor to Peter. The image of Ross was discovered behind a wall where it had stayed hidden for decades.