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Buenavida Pharmacy

8040 West Vernor Highway
Detroit, Michigan 48209

Eddie Saleh

Eddie Saleh comes from a large family, the oldest of nine brothers and sisters.

“My dad was an entrepreneur so we were always traveling mostly in South America.  My mother always a proponent of education pushed me and my siblings to get educated," Saleh recalls. "For her, education was a luxury she couldn't afford back in her home country of Colombia, so once we came to America she made it her mission to put us all in school.  At that time I had just graduated high school and I chose to study pharmacy at Wayne State University. "

Cecilia Hijar for Latino Press spoke with Saleh about opening a pharmacy in Detroit.

Eddie, how you came up with the idea for opening your own pharmacy?
“I had been in the pharmacy profession for five years before I opened my own business. At that time I noticed that I needed to do more to help my community and that the chain pharmacy I was working for was not going to allow me to implement all of the ideas and achieve the goals I had always dreamed of.  With the support of my family and my credit cards, I went off to open Buenavida pharmacy and that is when my dreams came true.”

Who was your first employee and how you find him/her?
My first employee was my brother Jose he didn't get paid and that was all I could afford at that time.

How many employees does Buenavida has today and how many have been promoted? 
Today we have six employees of whom two of them carry managerial positions.

What is the impact that your business has made in your community?
 I have always wanted to create a business that has the care and support of its community and for that to happen we must care for our community first; we must show them that without their support we cannot exist.  Since day one our goal was to bring awareness to the Latino community the importance of regular healthcare screening and the value of their health.  So we set up regular diabetes and blood pressure screening events at the senior centers along with having an open door policy
where the pharmacist can perform those tests for free at the pharmacy during pharmacy hours.  I believe in the saying an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure so we are always promoting healthy food alternatives, smoking cessation and prescription drug therapy management.

About Michigan... if you could change one thing about this region, what would it be?
For Michiganders the most important thing is to bring back their sense of belonging.  Michigan has lost thousand of college graduates and young professionals who where striving to succeed and make a better place for themselves here in Michigan, but when they couldn't due to the lack of security and job opportunities those young professionals had to search for their dreams elsewhere.  Michigan needs to focus on bringing new ideas to the table on how to encourage small and large business owners to come back and stay here for generations to come and bring back that sense of home that we all are looking for.

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