Smooth Operator

How Chobani spread Greek yogurt across America

Travis RathboneTrunk Archive

Chobani yogurt

Hamdi Ulukaya is holding a cup of Greek yogurt that his German shepherd, Panya, is lapping out of his hand. Her nose is dotted with the product that sped her master's young business from revenue of zero to an expected $1 billion over five years. Ulukaya, svelte and 40, is the owner of Chobani, a start-up reared on small-business loans among crumbling barns and sleepy towns in central New York.

When Ulukaya sold his first cups of Chobani, at a Long Island grocery store in 2007, Greek yogurt accounted for a piddling 2% of U.S. yogurt sales. By last year, it...

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