After moving to the US in 1982, Javid Javdani found himself in a very particular situation where he was successful in two very different industries. Through working several jobs to make ends meet after high school, Javdani learned what it took to run a successful business. Upon graduating with a degree in chemistry from California State Polytechnic University, Javdani decided to continue his studies and pursued and ultimately attained his Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific. He became a licensed pharmacist in 1994 before settling in San Diego, California, where he continues to serve his community as a trusted pharmacist.   

Even though Javid Javdani had made it as a successful and trusted pharmacist, he had the desire to open his own pharmaceutical business. Whilst looking for a spot to open up shop, Javdani came across a small international grocery store that was looking to sell. His entrepreneurial mind set kicked into full gear when he saw the potential of the small shop and took the dive into becoming a grocery store operator. He found quick success in owning and operating a store that provided all sorts of international products. It wasn’t long before the venture took flight, and he was able to open up his own restaurant and catering business using his connections in the business. Javid Javdani is now proud to serve his community in both the food and retail industry as well as in the pharmacology sector.  

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I think through both my work at the pharmacy and at my business, I have the satisfaction of helping others.  When I was a pharmacist at the hospital, I made a point to talk to the patients, their families, and make sure they were comfortable.  I enjoyed helping them get the medication they needed and understand how to use it, which brought great comfort to them.  It’s the same with my store.  When I see the faces of the people, especially the elderly, that come and they see their favorite products on the store shelves, it’s an amazing thing to experience.  They want to show to their kids where these special items come from.  They want to see the products from their home country.  It’s very satisfying to see them get excited like that. 

What keeps you motivated?

The relationships I have established with the community are what really keeps me motivated.  I’m also motivated to stay focused on the challenges ahead with the competition and business trends I have to keep on top of.  I have to keep an eye on the big companies that come on the market like Amazon and Wal-Mart.  It’s hard to compete with them, but you need to find ways to keep your customers and make sure that they don’t go elsewhere with their business.

How do you motivate others?

One thing that I always tell my employees is to make sure your kids go to school and make sure they get their certifications.  I have several employees that I have helped get their college degrees.  I was flexible with their time and made sure they had the time needed to succeed academically.  School comes first.  Also, if my employees wanted to start a business of their own, I would help them.  One of my managers wanted to start a business, and I helped advise him on the lease negotiation and other decisions.  My workers appreciate the lengths I go to in order to make their lives better, and they are motivated to stick with me and support me in return.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

The grocery store started at 2k square foot, then grew to 5k and then to 10k.  Later on, we added a Sufi Mediterranean restaurant and an events/catering facility where customers could book activities like baby showers, parties and small weddings, which added another 14k square foot.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My father had challenges in his early life.  He lost his parents when he was six years old.  He had a tough time going to school, but he overcame those challenges and eventually got his doctorate in pharmacy and started own his own pharmacy.  He is my role model.  He didn’t teach me so much about business, but he taught me good values, like working hard as a first generation American.  He told me I had to tough it out and work hard to get where I am.  Nothing was handed to me on a silver platter.  I had to work hard for every dollar that I earned to make it to where I am.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

It was very hard in the beginning, but right now I make sure to spend time with my wife and daughter.  I hire good people to take care of a lot of things with my business.  My family always comes first.

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

First, even though I am the owner of the business, I am not ashamed to work alongside my employees if there’s a need for me to do so.  I’m very hands-on.  Plus, I trust my employees.  They have my confidence to do the jobs that need doing and do them right. And finally, I worked several jobs and went to school, thus I learned to multitask and became highly organized.  All those things work together to make me a successful leader.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Get advice from the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey.  I made a lot of mistakes by trying to do things my way even if I didn’t have the experience.  But there are so many things you should inquire about with a professional to make sure you get them right.

Make sure you have enough capital.  I struggled financially for the first two to three years of the business until it started becoming profitable.  Those were hard years because I was undercapitalized, but I made it through and became successful.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

I started late, but my biggest accomplishment was starting a family.  I have a lovely wife and daughter that mean everything to me.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

I always put myself in other people’s shoes when it comes to accepting criticism.  I don’t brush people off if they have something critical to say.  I take it as valuable advice and to help improve my services.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

My vision includes opening a second market in a different area in five years. Something a little bigger in the right location to cater to the whole international community.  

Another idea I have for the pharmacy side of my career is to respond to the growing age population in San Diego. I want open and expand my own pharmacy dedicated to the other communities in the city to make sure they have somebody that speaks their language and can help them with their pharmacy needs.  That is something I have wanted to do from the very beginning.