Small Business Owner Spotlight - Elkford Drugstore
I have been keeping quiet on a little something in the works for Joy Segovia Photography. Recently, I have been working on a side project to put a spotlight on local business owners in the Elk Valley. We all know how much leadership, determination, and straight up hard work it takes to open and own a business. I want to inspire our youth and show them that their dreams CAN come true, just as it has for these business owners, if they work hard enough.
We all know Ahmed as the friendly face behind the Elkford Drugstore counter. He always has a smile on his face and is willing to thoroughly help his clients with any questions that they may have. But, I wanted to get to know Ahmed a bit more, to learn his story. So I had the opportunity to sit down with him and record his answers to a basic interview.
Hi Ahmed! Thanks for joining me!!
Let’s start off with some basics: Q: How long have you owned your business?
A: It’s been three years now.
Q: So where did you grow up? Why did you choose the Elk Valley as your home?
A: I grew up in Cairo, Egypt but I’ve spent most of my time in B.C. in Port Hardy specifically. I went for a year in Hamilton, Ontario but then I returned back to here (Elkford) because I preferred to live in B.C.
Q: Oh, okay!! So you like the mountains and all that?
A: Yes! Haha
Q: I am totally curious to hear about Cairo! What is it like? And do you miss it?!
A: Yeah, I miss it so much…. Yeah, Cairo is super big. If you’ve been to Ontario, it’s probably double…. So many people, so many neighborhoods, rich, poor…Lot’s of stuff to do, lot’s of variety of food and places to go and parks. It’s very crowded compared to Toronto: driving is crazy! … It’s very hot, warm weather compared to here, we don’t get any snow. What I like about this area here is that we get so much sun it’s important to me because back there we get sun 365 days. It rains 2 or 3 days a year. When I was in Vancouver, it was a little bit depressing for me because it doesn’t sun shine… it’s always raining. So here for me, it was kind of in-between. I can enjoy my summers as I enjoyed them back home.
Q: So what inspired you to be an entrepreneur? To be a pharmacist…. What’s your story?
A: Okay, pharmacy as a degree I drifted to as a kid so I drifted to that branch of science. I graduated and worked at some pharmacies and really liked it but I always believed that I wanted to open my own business… my own pharmacy to implement my own policies, to utilized all of the experience that I gathered in different places and just customize it for my own way of doing things. So yeah, I always liked to work in different pharmacies but it was my objective to have my own for myself.
Q: Okay, wow! So when you were a kid, what really inspired you about pharmaceuticals?
A: It started when I was in high school. I was very interested in organic chemistry and it took me all the way to pharmacy!
Q: So people in our community would mainly know you as… The Elkford Drug store, friendly face…. What would your family say that you are best known for?
A: They would probably know me as a very helpful and easy going Dad and Husband. I always try to fix problems and make everyone happy and comfortable with whatever they are doing: supporting them in their needs and their questions and anything they may need to know in life.
Q: Awesome! So you said Father and Husband… Tell me about your family!
A: I’m married with my wife and I have three kids. Two girls and a boy.
Q: And how old are they?
A: My girl is 10, then my boy is 8, and my little girl is 3.
Q: How sweet! What’s your wife’s name?
Q: How long have you guys been married?
A: 12 years!
Q: Oh wow! That’s special! Okay! So where is Ola from?
A: She’s from Egypt.
Q: How cool! That’s awesome! So do you have employees working with you?
A: I currently have one.
Q: How do you motivate your employee(s)?
A: I try to always answer their questions. Try to be very helpful in explaining things and by helping them by doing things so like if they are counting pills, I count with them: if they do anything, I do it too…. So I share with them all of their duties. At the same time, I try to always always give excuse(s) [Pardons] for what errors may be done, in terms to motivate them just to get over them and correct errors and to just feel easy about it.
Q: Awesome! So what’s your philosophy towards your own work?
A: Probably two major things: to work hard and to be honest. After that, probably comes the willingness to learn. Working hard comes with a dedication and focusing in your job.
Q: So describe to me one thing you want your employee(s) to know?
A: That I am always willing to help them as their mentor, to be supportive toward them.
Q: And describe one thing you want your loyal customers to know?
A: I always work with them, for their interests… for their health care needs.
Q: So we have to have a fun question! If you were left in the woods with 3 items, what would they be?
A: Uhm, probably water…. Man, that’s tough… Uhm, my wife, and my kids! Hahah
Q: Awesome!! So if you could give any one piece of advice to our youth, our young people to motivate them towards moving towards greater things in their life…. What would that be?
A: I would say, try to make in your life in stages or phases…. So always start with learning… try to learn and get experience you need to live by. And then after that, you’ve finished with this phase or stage – move into the next one. Always have short term plans, medium term plans, and long term plans. Your short term plans can be to learn, medium term plans is to have this by a specific time and long term plans is to move between phases. You don’t have to open your own business when you first graduate or first finish your education…. Sometimes you need to learn first and after that move to the next step to open your own business. When you open your own business, it’s tough. It’s tough in the beginning. After that, it pays off with the more time and dedication you put into it. There’s always a chance and always an opportunity - you just need to seek for it and search for it. And actually nowadays there are more tools, especially with the internet and Google, that helps people gather information and use it for the best of interest for self and for others!
Q: Cool!! That’s phenomenal advice! So what’s been your biggest accomplishment in your life this far? Personal… or business related?
A: Probably having my own pharmacy… my own business. That would be my biggest accomplishment. It was a dream that came true. Personal – getting married and having 3 nice kids who truly love me and I love them more probably.
Thank you so much Ahmed for allowing me to interview and photograph you! It was a pleasure to get to know you more and to learn more about your family! I wish you nothing but luck and success moving forward with your pharmacy! Thank you for all that you do for our little community!
To learn more about the Elkford Drug Store visit them at: