Up Close & Personal With Steve Van Andel

thestar online:

“I need a Coke, some sugar to get me going,” he says before settling into this conversation with StarBizWeek last month.

Call him a typical American in this regard but it appears he is soon recovered from his fatigue and starts talking passionately on the subject closest to his heart – Amway, the abbreviation for American Way – the direct selling company his father co-founded more than five decades ago.

The lanky, soft-spoken, 54 year-old Steve is the son of the late Jay Van Andel who passed away in 2004, the man who established Amway together with his childhood friend, Rich DeVos.

Van Andel and DeVos senior started their business venture in 1959, selling vitamins and biodegradable soaps to their community in the small western Michigan town of Ada from their home basements.

“As children, all we had to do to see the business was to go down to the basements,” Steve reveals.

Sales were so good that the pair eventually established plants to manufacture their own products.

Over the decades, both men worked hard to build their business – now still headquartered in Michigan – to become one of the most well-known brands in the US.

It wasn’t always a smooth path. And Steve, who joined Amway right after college knows this better than anyone else.

“We’ve had our difficult times but which business doesn’t?” he says.

Logo from Amway

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