Balassa Laboratories was founded by Joseph Balassa in the 1930’s. He was born in Budapest in 1891, and after he graduated from college in Budapest, he began his career as a pharmacist working throughout Hungary and Europe. In 1924 he immigrated to the USA in search of the American dream, and five years later became a naturalized citizen.
His arrival in the USA coincided with start of the economic downturn that would lead to the great depression, so he traveled to find work in New York and Ohio before settling in New Jersey. He gained valuable experience and honed his skills in compounding medicines by working with different pharmacists in these various locations.
After he was laid off in 1931 due to the depression, he moved to Newark New Jersey and eventually opened his own pharmacy called Economy Prescription Pharmacy. He continued to have a love of compounding and chemistry, and he invented many formulas for medicines and toiletries. Balassa Laboratories was born.
Nick DiGaetano was the son of immigrants living in Newark. He began working in Mr Balassa’s Economy Prescription Pharmacy washing floors on weekends when he was 12 years old. At age 15, he became the pharmacy’s delivery boy. No one in Nicks family had ever gone to college, but Mr Balassa inspired Nick to follow in his footsteps and go to college and become a pharmacist.
Mr Balassa worked in his pharmacy daily from 9am-10pm and half a day on Sundays, and almost never took a day off. He lived in a small sparely furnished room in the rear of his drug store, and devoted himself entirely to his business creating medications to help people. Nick continued to work for Mr Balassa all through out college, and he stayed close to him as he grew older. Mr Balassa never married, but Nick was like a son to him.
In the mid 1930’s, Mr Balassa created his greatest formula for a corn, callus and wart remover. This unique product is extremely effective, and became very popular. He applied for his first trademark for Corn Stick in 1937. Nick helped Mr Balassa with the manufacturing and packaging process when he worked in the pharmacy.
When Mr Balassa retired from working in the drug store he moved away from Newark, but he continued to operate Balassa Laboratories from the basement of his home. He sold his products nationally through mail order catalogs.
When Mr Balassa passed away in 1967, he left his pharmacy and his compete book of formulas, including prized formula for his corn callus and wart remover to Nick. The book and other memorabilia are still cherished by Nick. Nick incorporated the company, and with the help of family members, especially his son Jim, Nick has continued to operate Balassa Laboratories, Inc. ever since.
For over 40 years, Nick worked full time as a pharmacist while also devoting long hours to Balassa Laboratories, Inc. making Corn Stick and Wart Stick. Just like his mentor, Nick initially operated Balassa Laboratories from his basement in his home in the 1960’s before the business moved to a separate facility. He retired from working in a pharmacy nearly 15 years ago, but today, at age 80, he still continues to go to work almost every day at “The Lab”, just like Mr Balassa did.