The Year was 1991 and the Soviet Union was crumbling. Ukraine was about to become an independent country. Opportunity was knocking on the door for those entrepreneurs who could see the enormous economic potential of millions of ex-soviet citizens of newly independent countries. Communism had isolated nearly 300 million people for over 70 years and populations were yearning for freedom and opportunities.
With Ukraine’s and other countries’ independence from the Soviet Union, the West quickly opened its arms to embrace the newly independent nations of the former Soviet bloc. Many Ukrainian citizens took to this invitation and began to immigrate westward en masse. This third wave of Ukrainian immigration quickly populated European, Canadian, and American cities.
With Ukrainian immigration quickly on the rise in Chicago and becoming financially strong a need arose among those immigrants to help their families and brethren in the “old country.” Thus a business was born. In 1991, Bohdan Buchwak applied his entrepreneurial skills in forming a shipping company called Karpaty Electronics and Parcels. The company was named after the Carpathian “Karpaty” mountain range that arches across Central and Eastern Europe and where many Ukrainians live peacefully with other nationalities.
Despite early obstacles on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, things were going well here in Chicago where the business was started. In 1995, the original business was moved to a new location and expanded thanks to the efforts of Bohdan’s father (Peter Buchwak) and younger sister (Maria Iwanec, nee. Buchwak). During that same year the business was renamed Meest-Karpaty, Inc., (when it became an independent agent of Meest Inc.) This name pays tribute to the successful “bridge” that was created between the U.S. and Ukraine and to the beautiful mountain range that is the ancestoral homeland of the Buchwak family; hence the name (meest which means bridge in Ukrainian and karpaty – also in Ukrainian – that stands for the Carpathian mountains and the original name of the business).
Like the strong iron bridge and beautiful lush mountain range that the business is named after Meest-Karpaty, Inc., has became a bedrock of the Ukrainian business community in Chicago . Within the next decade, the business expanded to include weekly radio shows called Radio Meest and Voice of Ukraine plus a weekly newspaper called Meest that is currently distributed throughout the United States and Canada .
In recognizing the need for cultural development, in addition to the business needs of the Ukrainian community, Meest-Karpaty, Inc. became the single most important organizer and sponsor of individual concerts of Ukrainian Superstars, namely: Ruslana, Oksana Bilozir, Viktor Pavlik, and rock groups “Okean Elzy”, “Svitozary”, “Green Jolly”, “Sokoly” and many more.
Meest-Karpaty, Inc., has become more than just a business, offering parcel shipments, money transfers, concerts, and news, it’s become a brandname – “Meest-Karpaty,” is recognized not only in the United States but also in Ukraine as a high quality service company that has “bridged” the old and the new with dependable, organized, and timely service, always giving its assurance that going into its third decade of existence, the service that people have come to know, love and depend on will always be their bridge to Ukraine.