ELYRIA — A package of deli meat made an Elyria man a bit more financially flush Monday as part of Discount Drug Mart’s 50th anniversary celebration Monday.
Bob Pesti, 76, was surprised with a $5,000 prize while shopping for lunch at the original Drug Mart at 500 North Abbe Road, Elyria.
“It’s very shocking and pleasing,” Pesti said. “It didn’t register until they walked up with the (check).”
Though Pesti doesn’t know what he wants to spend the money on, he knows he’ll be back to Drug Mart. He’s been shopping at the North Abbe Road store since it first opened in 1969.
“It’s convenient, and everybody who has been working all these years, they’re very pleasant, and the prices are very competitive,” he said.
Amy Castelli, president of Castelli Media Group Inc., said the giveaway was formulated as a way to celebrate the Ohio-based chain’s longevity.
“To celebrate their loyal customers, which has created their success and their staff members, they decided to give away one prize to a random customer at their first store, and that was $5,000,” she said.
In addition to the $5,000 giveaway, Drug Mart locations across the state were dolling out $50 gift cards to random shoppers throughout the day.
Pharmacist Parviz Boodjeh first opened Drug Mart in 1969, heralded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony with community members and local representatives. Since then, the family business has ballooned to more than 3,700 employees among its 74 store locations throughout Ohio, with two more locations to open this year.
The company is managed by Parviz’s three sons, Doug, Dave and Don Boodjeh.
CEO Don Boodjeh discussed the familial atmosphere that the Boodjehs always have tried to foster throughout the chain.
“My dad used to drive us out to Elyria to help us set the store up,” Don Boodjeh said. “And in those days we would unload trucks of paint and all sorts of general merchandise. It wasn’t just a general store back in those days. All his employees were all from right around the neighborhood here, so everyone knew each other and everyone was like family.”
On Monday, there also was a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the North Abbe Road location to commemorate the ceremony held 50 years prior. Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda, other Drug Mart owners, numerous politicians and local officials, and the Browns and Indians mascots were in attendance.
Although Parviz Boodjeh died in 2016, his sons are thankful they get to carry on his legacy through their family business.
“Outside of missing mom and dad and wishing that they were here today, I know they’re looking down on us right now. I think he’s really happy about where the company is today and that we’re still carrying on his legacy,” Don Boodjeh said.