Chobani: Hamdi Ulukaya
As a newly arrived immigrant from Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya learned to be resourceful, determined, and even stubborn when he needed to be. All those traits would serve him well as he began to navigate the hairpin turns of building a yogurt business from the ground up. In 2005, Hamdi was running a small feta cheese business in upstate New York when he happened upon a piece of junk mail that would change his life: an ad for an abandoned yogurt factory...$700K, as is. He knew if he could get his hands on it, he could bring a new kind of dairy product to the U.S.—the thick, creamy yogurt he’d grown up eating in the mountains of Turkey. With the help of a local bank, Hamdi bought the factory, and sales grew so quickly that he could barely keep up. A few years later, some bad business decisions nearly pushed the company into bankruptcy, but today, Chobani is one of the most popular yogurt brands in the U.S; and Greek-style yogurt has become a staple of the dairy aisle.