Boodjeh opened his first store in 1969 in Elyria, Ohio. The unit was a forerunner of the chain’s current stores, which carry an extensive selection of general merchandise and consumables.
Boodjeh was a pharmacist, and until a decade ago, he was filling prescriptions, most often at the chain’s outlet in Lakewood, Ohio. After giving up dispensing drugs he continued to visit stores.
“We would go out every Wednesday, and would hit two or three stores a day,” John Gans, a family friend for 52 years, and now the retailer’s president, told the The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. “He would love talking to the people and seeing what was going on. He said it was his favorite day of the week. Probably because he was a pharmacist, he wanted to always stay in touch with the ground floor.”
A native of Iran, Boodjeh immigrated to the United States at the age of 20. He moved to the Toledo area to attend college with the ambition of becoming a doctor. He chose to become a pharmacist after he got married and had his first child.
After graduation in 1956, he worked at a Jay Drug Store in the Cleveland area and became a partner in the business. Soon after the company was sold, Boodjeh debuted the store in Elyria. By 1977 he had premiered stores in Amherst, Brunswick, Avon Lake, Lakewood, Medina and North Olmsted.