MEDINA — John Gans, president of Discount Drug Mart, said it’s not uncommon for employees to work 30 or 40 years with the company.
He should know. Gans started with the company when he was 15 years old and has worked there more than 40 years.
Gans said he was a stock boy at the Harding Street store in Medina on the Fourth of July in 1976.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” he said.
His manager at the store? None other than Dave Boodjeh, son of founder Parviz Boodjeh.
The company, celebrating its 50th anniversary, is in the top 10 in the nation among drugstore chains based on sales volume and the number of locations.
Medina City Council lauded Drug Mart on Monday night, along with dignitaries from across the state.
Parviz, a pharmacist, and his wife, Mildred, both deceased, opened their first two stores in Lorain County, starting with one in Elyria in 1969.
The family now has 75 locations, including seven in Medina County. Its first store in the county was on Pearl Road in Brunswick. A couple years later, it opened the Harding Street location in Medina.
“Mr. B’s father (Parviz) set a great example,” Gans said. “His family
wasn’t born with a silver spoon in its mouth. Everyone worked for everything they got.”
Gans said expanding to Medina County was a stroke of genius. There were other drugstores in the area at the time, but not ones that provided the expansive merchandise of Drug Mart.
The company moved its headquarters to Medina in 1981.
“We worked with the city to get the building,” Gans said. “(The city) was very accommodating. It gave us a central location.
“(The city) is here to help us with anything we need. They are great partners.”
All of Parviz’s children worked for the company, including Dave, now the chief administrative officer.
“We treat our customers like family,” he said. “We’ve always called Medina home.”
His sister, Deb (Boodjeh) Calevich, sat in the audience during the Council meeting.
Other executives on hand were Dave Bergman and Dave Baytosh, both senior vice presidents of advertising, and Steve Ferris, government affairs director.
Several others commended Drug Mart, including:
- Michelle Gillcrist, Northern Ohio regional liaison for Gov. Mike DeWine, said Drug Mart has made a positive difference in its community and in the state of Ohio.
- Rebecca Armstrong, deputy director of public affairs for Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague, said Ohio is proud that Drug Mart calls Ohio home.
- State Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, said he can’t get Drug Mart’s jingle out of his head. “Discount Drug Mart saves you the runaround,” he sang. “It’s been around for 30 years. You know what they say, ‘Either you take care of your customers or your competitors will.’”
- State Rep. Darrell Kick, R-Loudonville, said the House of Representatives wants to wish Drug Mart the best in the next 30 years.
- Leah Jones, regional representative for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, said Drug Mart fills an important role for employees who hold a stake in the employee-owned company.
- Heidi Matthews, district director for U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Rocky River.
- Bill Hutson, Medina County commissioner.
- Caryn Candisky, Northeast Ohio district director for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati.