Ahmed El-Maddah of Elkford B.C. is a long way from Cairo, Egypt, the 15th largest city in the world, famous for the Giza pyramids and the Nile River. The Elkford Drug Store owner is the recipient of the 2019 Elkford Business of the Year, and Customer Service of the Year Award. As a middle class kid growing up in the hot and sprawling north African metropolis, El-Maddah probably couldn’t even dream of one day paddling a kayak in a pristine mountain lake, or carving long turns through knee deep powder. But that’s exactly what happened, along with having a family and a successful pharmacy business in the east Kootenays.
“My dad was a professor of engineering,” he said. “My mom was a psychologist. I had an older sister and I have an identical twin brother and a younger brother. I graduated from Cairo University in 2002. I met my wife there. We were colleagues at the university. We got married three years after graduating. My main sports growing up were Taekwondo. I was the National Champion at the junior level four times. The other hobby was playing with Lego bricks. I also played soccer.”
El-Maddah said that when he was a kid, everything was calm in Cairo.
“We were a middle class family…not a super rich life. I came to Canada in 2010. I started taking the exams for my pharmacy license. In 2007 I finished three of them, and then I made the move in 2010 to finish the final exam and get my license.”
After obtaining his pharmacy license, El-Maddah moved to Port Hardy B.C.
“I worked there for three years, then in 2013 I got promoted to pharmacy manager. And then I decided to move more to the Interior, which was temporary. Then I moved to Ontario in 2014. Then I got the idea of having my own store.”
El-Maddah’s friends recommended a move to Elkford.
“I paid a visit, found a location and started building,” he explained. “We had tremendous support from the community. People were so interested to support a local business. For sure things were hard for the first six months, but things got better after a year.”
After all his travels and education, El-Maddah has some advice for those who aspire to greatness.
“If you put your mind to something, just work very hard, and you will get it.”