Leo Weinstein, founder and president of Levlad Inc., died July 30 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 61.
He and his brother Vladimir were Russian émigrés who arrived penniless in California in 1961. Twelve years later, the brothers owned a Venice Beach herb shop, and after a California rainstorm, were inspired to create Rainwater Herbal Shampoo.
As a graduate of California State University, Northridge, Mr. Weinstein brought his strong business acumen to the table, while his brother, Vladimir, a University of California, Los Angeles-trained physicist, developed and enhanced the formula. The shampoo, first sold at the Weinsteins? herb shop, gained national popularity in health food stores. The brothers soon found themselves at the cutting edge of the natural beauty products industry and established Nature?s Gate personal care products. In addition to the Nature?s Gate brand, Levlad developed an extremely successful private-label business.
?Leo was a passionate entrepreneur who developed a great business, a great family and a great life. His success was only matched by his humbleness,? said Doug Greene, a longtime friend and the founder of New Hope Natural Media. ?He will be missed.?
Mr. Weinstein once said that the company?s goals were ?100 percent focused on products that work well and feel great, while giving something back to the earth that enabled us to make the products in the first place.?
In addition to his unflagging commitment to the environment, Mr. Weinstein was also actively involved in other charitable efforts. After being diagnosed with cancer, he helped create and sponsor Newellink USA Inc., which supports research aimed at development of new approaches to cancer therapy. Leo Weinstein is survived by his wife, Lela; his children, Jason, Robb and Lisa; his brother, Vladimir; his mother, Rochell; and two sisters, Linda Etting and Rosalyn Feldman.
Contributions in honor of Mr. Weinstein may be made to Newellink USA. Checks can be made out to University of Colorado, Bioenergetics Research, for the benefit of Newellink USA and sent to Newellink at 1115 Elkton Drive, 3rd Floor, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.
For more on Leo Weinstein, see page "25 Who Made Naturals Beautiful."
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 9/p. 14