In 1920, when he was twenty years old, Mr. Chavis came to Champaign from his home in Danville and opened Royal Cleaners which was in 1983 the only Black-owned business in campustown. In order to establish the business, his wife recalls, "He rode on a bicycle and knocked on people's doors. Business just doesn't fly into your hand." A respected member of the community, he was for many years active in campus business organizations. His wife was Gertrude Chavis, who was herself an active business woman.