Monday, August 24, 2015
This Family Business Begun in a Basement Has Gone Big Time
Julie Smolyansky, president, CEO and director of Lifeway Foods Inc, is the next-generation leadership of a family business whose co-founders, Michael and Ludmila Smolyansky, immigrated from Russia. Her mother is the chairman, and her brother, Ed Smolyansky, is the CFO and treasurer. Lifeway is the first company to go public by Russian immigrants. The foundation of her family business was bringing kefir, a traditional cultured milk product common in Russia and Eastern Europe, to market in the U.S. The business that was begun in 1986 in a basement in Skokie, Ill., recently acquired a 200,000 square-feet dairy. Because I am also from another country, Liberia, I've been thinking about entrepreneurship and family business as a tool for empowering refugees and immigrants. Julie's story is an example of how a family business is an option, no matter where you're from.
Read more about how this family business began in a basement