Running a family business has been in the Basha family’s blood for centuries. After emigrating from Lebanon, the family operated a store in New York before moving to the desert in the early 1900s. Despite several setbacks, including destructive fires, Najeeb and Najeeby Basha managed to grow their general-store business in Arizona. But it wasn’t until 1932, after Najeeb’s death, that the business took on the family name.
After their father’s passing, Eddie Basha and his brother, Ike, used the lessons they’d learned from their parents to purchase property near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler and open a new store to support their mother and siblings. This store became the first to be called Bashas’, and it marked the beginning of what would become a prominent grocery-store chain across Arizona.
As they were able to open more locations, Eddie and Ike’s expanding families started pitching in, turning Bashas’ into a true family business. Several years later, after Ike and Najeeby had died, the passion to continue the family’s legacy lived on.
By the 1950s, Eddie’s kids were getting older. And as one of them, Eddie Jr., graduated from Stanford in 1959, he knew the family business was calling his name. In a history article provided by Bashas’, Eddie Jr. said: “There was never a mandate. I just had a natural inclination to do it.”
In the decade that followed, Eddie Jr. helped grow the company from seven stores to 16. When his father died in 1968, the responsibility for the family business fell on Eddie Jr. Only 31 years old at the time, he took the lessons he’d learned from his father, his education and his own experience to figure out the best business moves to keep the company afloat. That meant a series of tough decisions, including liquidating assets and selling properties.
Ultimately, the risks and struggles paid off for the Basha family, which now operates one of the largest grocery chains in the state. Bashas’ has more than 100 locations statewide, including stores under the Food City and AJ’s Fine Foods brands.
Eddie Jr. died in 2013, but the family business has remained a staple in Arizona. Eddie Jr.’s son, Edward “Trey” Basha III, is the company’s CEO, and Bashas’ plans to keep the business in the family. The company’s corporate headquarters now sits at the site of that first store to bear the Bashas’ name.