Here’s an image you might not see every day: “The Bachelor” Juan Pablo Galavis selling appliances in upstate New York.
Galavis, an Ithaca-born, Venezuela-raised former professional soccer player, made his reality show debut as a contestant on "The Bachelorette" in 2013. He didn't win then-bachelorette Desiree Hartsock's heart, but he did land a second chance at love on the current season, which premiered in January.
Dean Eaton, owner of Rochester Appliance, said he approached Galavis because of a shared connection: Eaton's brother in-law, with whom Galavis played college soccer.
“They [Eaton's brother-in-law and Galavis] maintained a close friendship over the years,” Eaton said. “When I found out Juan was the next Bachelor I immediately contacted him and asked him to be in commercials for my small business.”
The 30-second commercial was filmed in the store’s showroom on Dec. 22, Eaton said.
The store released the first of four commercials starring Galavis on its blog on Monday. The commercial also aired locally during “The Bachelor” this week.
During the commercial, titled “Just Looking,” Galavis, sporting an employee uniform, asks two females browsing the store: “Anything catch your eye?” and “Can I help you?”
“Oh I’m just looking,” one replies, staring longingly at the Bachelor as he walks away.
Though Galavis didn’t do the commercial for free, Eaton said it was “still a huge favor” for the store.
“Prior to flying, Juan got a head cold…I felt bad for the guy as his nose kept running and it messed up his makeup constantly,” Eaton said. “He never complained and remained professional throughout the process.”
In a tweet to a Times reporter on Tuesday, Galavis wrote: “His BROTHER in law played SOCCER with me in COLLEGE... Love HELPING those who HELPED me in the PAST... ;-)”
Eaton would not disclose how much he paid Galavis for the commercial or how much the commercial cost overall. However, Eaton said his friends helped with production.
“I had a very young crew, mostly in their early 20s, filming and producing the entire shoot,” he said. “Most of those guys are my good friends.”
Galavis is featured in three more short commercials for the business. Eaton said he plans on releasing them one at a time on the store's blog.
After airing, the commercial sparked buzz among community members and was featured on the local ABC News affiliate 13WHAM.
“My wife was laughing out loud and the anchors were cracking up,” Jamey Hinman of Rochester told the Times. “It was fantastic.”
Galavis may be a household name now but when the commercial was being filmed in December, “no one knew who he was yet,” Hinman said.
Likewise, Hinman -- who shops at the store and knows Eaton -- said he had no idea about the commercial until he saw it discussed on local news.
Keeping the commercial somewhat of a secret paid off -- Eaton said the advertisements have already boosted business.
“We are a very small store in Rochester N.Y.,” Eaton said. “Juan put us on the map.”