By Dan Mitchell, MLM Blog Correspondent
GRAND RAPIDS — More than 1,000 high-ranking distributors, as well as
the company's top executives from around the world, will descend on
West Michigan this week as Amway marks its 50th anniversary.
They can expect rousing speeches, big-name entertainers — Sting
performs a private show next Sunday — and plenty of smiles among the
elite entrepreneurs who took the dream of two guys from Grand Rapids
and made it their own.
While the faces, languages and hometowns will be global, Amway is
much the same now as when it marked its 25th anniversary — only bigger.
A lot bigger.
In 1984, the Ada-based company chalked up sales of about $1.2 billion, mostly in the United States.
In 2008, the family-owned business had $8.2 billion in sales around
the world, making it one of the nation's 50 largest private companies,
according to Forbes magazine.
It's hard to overestimate the effect of having a company with Amway's
global reach and deep community roots planted in West Michigan, said
Birgit Klohs, president of The Right Place Inc., an economic
development agency started by Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel.