When the pandemic hit, many people retreated to their homes and started baking bread. Dick Schulze started hunting around for a business opportunity.

The billionaire founder of Best Buy, who is now 80 years old, homed in on the travel industry, which he saw "turned upside down," and figured there must be some good deals to be had.

"Cruise ships are being dry-docked all over, airplanes are being parked all over, hotels are being either shut down or closed all over," Schulze said on a recent sunny day in his office in Naples, Fla., where he now lives. "I said, 'There's got to be some value.'"

He found what he was looking for on the hard-to-reach island of Anguilla in the Caribbean — a 180-room luxury resort that needed some sprucing up after being damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Last week, the rebranded Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club had its grand reopening after Schulze had a hydroponic farm, a solar array and a desalination plant rebuilt. The golf course, which is also being reconstructed and expanded, will open in phases in the first half of next year.

Rooms start around $750 a night, suites around $1,000, villas around $3,000 and private residences around $4,600.

"I don't need the money," Schulze said. "It's the satisfaction you get from succeeding — taking something that's underperforming and turning it into something that performs."

Schulze remains chairman emeritus and the largest individual shareholder in Richfield-based Best Buy, which he started in 1966 and led until 2002. His nearly 10% stake is worth more than $2 billion.

Schulze admits he had never heard of Anguilla, which is a British overseas territory, and initially confused it with Antigua, a bigger and better-known destination that's also in the Lesser Antilles.

American Airlines this month began twice-weekly flights to Anguilla from Miami. But with no other direct flights from the U.S., and with many visitors often taking a ferry across from St. Martin, Schulze created a fleet of four 50-passenger planes to fly resort guests in from New York, Miami and Ft. Myers, Fla.

The flights are being operated through Best Jets International, a St. Paul-based private air charter and aircraft management company that Schulze has owned for many years.

Schulze began dabbling in the hotel space a couple years ago, when he bought the Westin Edina Galleria hotel after an old friend called him up and asked if he would be interested in it. Weeks later, the pandemic hit and sent occupancy at the hotel from 80% to 6%.

But with his deep pockets, the hotel came through the downturn and, according to Schulze, kept all of the staff on the payroll. He said that's what got the wheels turning in his head looking for other opportunities in the space.

In Anguilla, the resort's staff has nearly doubled to 580 under Schulze, he said. He's taken care to make sure that each part of the experience is top-notch down to the front-desk staff learning guests' names and groundskeepers greeting them.

"It's kind of my quest to see how different hospitality is from retail," Schulze said. "And I'm finding out that it's different. But it's still guest comes first. Just like it is in retail, where the customer comes first."

At age 26, Schulze opened a stereo shop in St. Paul called the Sound of Music, which he financed with his personal savings and by taking out a second mortgage on his family's home. From that humble beginning, he built Best Buy into one of the nation's largest sellers of consumer electronics.

As chairman emeritus, he has no official duties but stays in fairly regular contact with company executives. He has nothing but praise for Best Buy CEO Corie Barry and the rest of the management team.

"I think she's doing a great job," he said.

Schulze comes back to Minnesota several weeks out of the year. Many staff members of his foundation and family office work out of a building in Edina.

With a net worth of $4.5 billion, according to Forbes, Schulze has committed to giving a decent chunk of his wealth to charitable purposes. He has pledged to give $1 billion to his namesake foundation, and is about halfway to reaching that mark.

Every year, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation gives tens of millions of dollars to groups in Minnesota and Florida in areas such as education, health and medicine, and social services.

When he visits, Schulze also usually meets with students and administrators at the University of St. Thomas, a school he initially enrolled in as a young man but ended up leaving to serve in the Air National Guard instead.

He donated $50 million to the school more than a decade ago to help set up the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. That was important to him because he has often said that if he had gotten a college degree, he might have avoided many of the mistakes he made in his career.

Entrepreneurship is now the university's eighth-largest major. One-fourth of the undergraduates at St. Thomas take at least one entrepreneurship course.

"He always says to students that entrepreneurship is for people who want to take their destinies in their own hands," said Laura Dunham, associate dean of the Schulze School. "He's definitely somebody who has lived that."

The resort in Anguilla was built two decades ago by Leandro Rizzuto, founder of Conair Corp. and the Cuisinart brand. When he first visited, Schulze was smitten by the location and the beauty of the place. But he found its food to be "awful."

Food is a crucial part of the experience for him, so the resort has brought in a renowned chef and changed up the menus. The new restaurant at the golf course — a steakhouse — was named "D Richards" after Schulze.

Schulze is planning to get started on a waterpark next year, which will include a lazy river and giant water slides. He also wants to add courts for sand volleyball, pickleball, tennis, basketball and bocce ball.

His project list is much longer: a 500-seat stadium for live entertainment, an archery range, miniature golf course, rock-climbing walls, horse-riding and food trucks.

"Is it a little bit of Disney?" Schulze asked, unprompted. "Yeah, maybe a little bit of Disney. Only from the perspective of high-quality service and entertainment. If people just have fun when they get there, that's what makes me feel good. That's what I'm trying to do."

He hopes the resort will be so popular that it will need more rooms. With more than 300 acres, there is plenty of space to expand.

Taking risks since he opened that stereo shop in St. Paul, Schulze said he doesn't see the resort as one of his big bets.

"It's a slam dunk," he said.