In an era when most entrepreneurs begin with a business plan, John Boyajian started out with a passion. In 1978, while in graduate school, John supported himself by exporting live lobsters to Europe. John approached the Petrossians, an Armenian-French family and internationally known purveyors of caviar, about the idea of distributing his New England lobsters abroad. While the Petrossians chose not to import his lobsters, they did offer John the opportunity to distribute their caviar in the U.S. In 1980, John sold his first tin of caviar to Boston’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel. For more than two decades, John imported and sold Caspian Sea caviar – eventually under the Boyajian name – and developed a loyal following of chefs and consumers. The line was expanded to include smoked salmon, and in the mid-eighties, John began to experiment with infused olive oils.
Drawing on his Armenian heritage and family traditions, he developed a line of infused olive oils the market had not yet seen. Boyajian Inc., then a retail operation in Cambridge, Mass., was quickly outgrowing its space. In 2004, Boyajian withdrew from the caviar industry. After watching conditions in the Caspian Sea deteriorate due to a lack of environmental regulations, the decision was made to step away from the business until a responsible effort is made to preserve the sturgeon population and its natural habitat. Despite the caviar decision, Boyajian continues to flourish.
Today, the line boasts infused olive oils, Asian oils, vinegars and vinaigrettes, pure citrus oils, natural flavorings and extracts. Boyajian has been honored with five of Boston Magazine’s prestigious “Best of Boston” awards. Products are sold in all 50 states and in several other countries. The company recently built a 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art production facility and corporate headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts.