WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — On the second floor of a downtown West Palm Beach office building, Amit Knightly is ready for his next challenge.
“This is a product of me and my fiancé, to start our own business,” he said.
In June, Knightly opened Stars International Records, a digital smart studio for emerging artists and DJs.
It is a challenge he welcomes after spending the last 18 months helping the unemployed navigate and problem solve the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s (DEO) troubled website.
“People still come to me, I go to Publix and people still come to shake my hand,” he said. “You’re the unemployment guy, you helped my sister, stuff like that.”
Knightly said when the pandemic started he was away in Tennessee when he decided to look into the DEO website to help a friend having problems filing for unemployment.
The trip ended with a 20 minute Facebook video on trying to solve filing issues and his popularity grew.
“The phone never stopped ringing, I had two phones, I had to change my number,” he said.
All the help he provided was for free, and Knightly, who was also out of work as a DJ, said the stress took a toll on his health and finances.
“November 13, 2020, I had negative $300 in my bank account,” Knightly said.
Now he has rebounded with his own business and a goal to continue to help people in the West Palm area, including some artists he’s working with now.
“They come from situation they were really bad, some of them were homeless and now we’re offering them a chance to grow as artists and grow with us and connect with the community,” Knightly said.