CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va -- Walk inside one of Michelle Leshok’s stores and you will find it hard not to smile. The Lazy Daisy doubles as a Headquarters of Happiness.
"Customers will tell you when you walk into the Lazy Daisy you feel this energy. And it’s true," she said.
Never did the career bookkeeper think home décor would be her calling.
"I just wanted to have a happy, positive place. Something to throw myself in 24 hours and seven days a week. That is exactly what I did," she said.
The dynamo from New Kent poured everything into her growing business. Michelle owns four locations from Williamsburg to Short Pump.
"Fully absolute dedication. I live, eat, breathe the Lazy Daisy. It is my passion,” she said.
That passion also happened to save Michelle’s life.
"The reason behind the Lazy Daisy was loss," she said. "My life was normal. Very busy. Very hectic. Go. Go. Go."
Six years ago, on August 26, 2011, during Hurricane Irene, her son Morgan was in the care of his father Scott. But Scott would not return Michelle’s phone call.
"My range of emotion was anger -- to fear -- to let everything be OK and I had this feeling in my stomach that something was horribly wrong," she recalled.
After a day of not hearing from Morgan’s father, a worried Michelle arrived at Scott’s girlfriend’s house on Stockleigh Drive in Chester. She was greeted by investigators and a tangle of yellow police tape.
"They told me they didn’t know how to tell me. I begged them to tell me what was wrong," Michelle said.
Morgan and his dad were shot dead by the estranged husband of Scott’s girlfriend.
Morgan Allred was only seven years old.
"I just remember forcing myself to the ground because I went completely numb," Michelle said. "Knowing that your mom and your dad have to be called to let them know that their grandson was killed and drive and hour. It was hell. It was a hell day."
Without her only child, Michelle spiraled downward.
"It was pouring rain. I got up late at night and I went to the cemetery. I tried digging him up. I screamed and I cried. I knew I was going to die. I wasn’t going to make it," Michelle said.
But a shell-shocked Michelle chose not to be angry and bitter. Opening the first The Lazy Daisy location in Chester would be her salvation.
"I tell people all of the time. I wasn’t just a mom. I was THE mom. He was my entire existence," Michelle said.
Michelle's new venture also honors the memory of her cherished son. Her son’s silhouette even graces the store’s sign.
"Everything I do is for Morgan," Michelle said.
Her son, who will forever be that smiling seven-year-old boy, inspires his mom each and every day.
"The happiest little boy you would ever know. Smiles always. Always. Everything about him. Beautiful happy. Healthy. Just taken way too soon," Michelle said.
Michelle Leshok credited Morgan for her award-winning business.
"I expanded again and again and again. Then I ventured into our second location and a third and a fourth. It has been crazy. Really incredible," Michelle said.
After years of pain and heartache, The Lazy Daisy has helped Michelle Leshok bloom again.
"He is everywhere. He has his hands all in it. He will make sure his Mom is OK. So. It's good.”
Watch CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. Fridays for Greg McQuade’s “I Have A Story” reports. If you know of someone Greg should feature in my “I Have A Story” segment email him.