The beginning of his journey toward success didn’t look too bright for Richard (Dick) DeVos, who was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1926. One of his early chores at home was keeping the coal going for heat. A special treat was getting a penny to spend each week. He and a lifelong friend Jay Van Andel experienced several adventures and started several business ventures together including a flying school and a drive-in restaurant. They founded Amway in 1959 with one product, a biodegradable cleaner called L.O.C. Over time, they expanded their product line to include other household cleaners, plus personal care, nutrition and wellness, and home living products.
In October 2000, Amway became one of three subsidiaries under a new parent company called Alticor, along with two sister companies: Quixtar Inc., a web-based business in North America and Access Business Group Inc., a business service provider. In its most recent fiscal year, Alticor reported sales of $4.5 billion in the markets it owns or manages. As DeVos puts it, “We didn’t take any shortcuts, we just persevered.”