Lifeway Foods began in the 1980s with the commitment of a Russian immigrant to bring kefir, a cultured yogurt drink long popular in Eastern Europe, to the growing community of Russians who moved to the U.S. after the Cold War era. Today the company has revenues of nearly $100 million thanks to its early commitment to that immigrant community, says CEO Julie Smolyansky, whose father founded the business, passed away in 2002 and left then-27-year-old Julie to run the company.

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