Adam Assadkhan

Adam Assadkhan

Co-founder and COO

AGE: 24

COMPANY: (Incorporated under Nutraways)

The story: The son of an Iranian immigrant who swapped running a smoke shop to operating a health food supplement store, Adam Assadkhan didn’t intend on following in his father’s footsteps. “I thought I wanted to be an actor,” he says. He enrolled in a six-month acting program after high school, but his two older brothers pulled him back into the family business. “I scrapped the acting gig and I’m really glad I did.” By 2009, as their father started easing into retirement, the brothers launched a website to take one-off orders for local clients. The number of orders began to boom, and by 2012 online sales through had surpassed bricks-and-mortar sales, which now account for less than 10 per cent of total revenues. Today, the three brothers co-lead the company—with Ali, 29, in charge of marketing, Amir, 27, in charge of finance and Adam, the youngest, in charge of operations (which includes the website, the North Vancouver warehouse and customer service). “We let each other pick our roles and luckily there was no overlap,” says Adam—whose responsibility for sets him as the family’s strategic decision-maker. With its renewed focus on online sales, Vitasave has grown from one Lonsdale health food store into a national e-commerce business, with 70 per cent of sales now coming from outside of B.C.

Markers of success: When Assadkhan and his brothers launched, it had annual sales of $2.5 million. Since then, revenues have grown 100 per cent year over year, and Assadkhan says he expects the company to make $15 million this year.