From a young age, Chris Cruz had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit.
He sold chocolate bars in elementary school. In high school, he used to sell Capri Suns to his classmates for $1.
“I think I’ve always wanted to be my own boss,” said Cruz, who medically separated from the Army at Fort Bragg last month.
The path to becoming his own boss continued by joining the Army – something he knew he wanted to be since he was 5 years old.
“I was born in Guam, before I moved to Kentucky, and most people from Guam join the military to get off the island,” he said. “But I also joined for the service. Most of my family has been in the military.”
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Cruz’s time in the Army led him to create his business, Anubis Design Group, in 2018.
The name Anubis comes from watching the movie “The Mummy” and is an Egyptian god who kept evil out of Egypt.
“It’s kind of mysterious, kind of like how some people in the military will come out of the shadows or the darkness to stop the bad guys,” he said.
The primarily online business specializes in creating nylon tactical gear and soft goods, along with custom apparel for military service members, law enforcement and civilians.
Cruz said his focus on nylon tactical gear is because he has often modified his own military gear “to make it more customized or better.”
“People in my units saw that I modified my stuff and asked me to make whatever modifications they needed, and it went from there,” he said.
In 2018, Cruz said, one of his friends in the 5th Special Forces Group asked him to modify a chest rig — a tactical vest used to hold equipment — and add a couple of patches.
The friend was happy with the work and encouraged Cruz to start his own business.
Cruz said he grew from sewing by hand to using heavier industrial machines.
Customize and craft armor plate that holds ballistic armor, chest rigs that hold ammo and other gear, and general purpose pouches.
“The vests are what we’re most famous for, but it’s not just gear,” he said. “We have T-shirts and hats and we’re trying to branch out into other things like photography and landscape.”
Cruz was able to demonstrate his gear during a diving competition hosted by the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg in June. He plans to attend a gun show in Fayetteville before moving to Texas.
Although he moved to Texas, Cruz said he has four other soldiers working with him, and the business is primarily an e-commerce model, meaning customers can order online.
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“We have our most available products in stock, but we can do custom orders,” he said.
Cruz said he welcomes customers connected to the military, but also wants to have a reach beyond the military, so he has items that civilians can buy as well.
Custom orders have a non-refundable fee of $35 and take seven to 10 business days, but could take longer depending on demand.
“Other than myself, the other guys are active, so it could vary,” he said.
Customers who want modified equipment are asked to send a return label before work begins and is agreed.
To check out Anubis Design Group, visit www.anubisdesigngroup.com and follow the business on Instagram.
Customers can contact us directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff writer Rachael Riley can be reached at email@example.com or 910-486-3528.