Empowering healthier lives since 1968
Back in the early 60’s the health food industry was in its infancy. “Health foods” were obscure and peculiar, and health food enthusiasts were broadly categorized as hippies and granola-heads.
During these raw and formative early years, entrepreneur Elwood Richard started a small chain of health food stores in the Chicago area called Health House. A degreed physical chemist, Elwood’s collegiate research had focused on enhancing physical performance through the use of healthy foods and nutritional supplements. The knowledge he acquired during this time left him a firm believer in the benefits of natural products for health and quality of life, and laid the early foundation for his life-long love of nutrition and health foods.
After losing customers to a local supermarket due to the high cost of his products, Elwood realized that in order for his health food stores to survive and thrive they needed to offer affordable natural products. Healthy foods wouldn’t last if no one could afford them. So he started his own natural products manufacturing company to supply his stores, which afforded him complete control over product cost and quality. NOW® Foods was born.
Today NOW is still owned by the Richard family and has grown to become one of the natural product industry’s most recognizable brands, providing one of the most extensive lines of natural products available. NOW has always remained true to Elwood’s original vision – to meet consumer need for health foods by offering affordable, high quality natural products.
Enjoy Beating the Odds, the inside story of NOW Foods, America’s most successful private nutrition company, including humorous insights into industry history as told by family member Dan Richard.
1948 – Paul Richard (Elwood’s father) purchases Fearn Soya Foods from estate of close friend Dr. Charles E. Fearn
1962 – Elwood Richard opens first retail store in Elmhurst, Illinois
1968 – Elwood Richard founds NOW® Foods - 4500 square feet within Fearn Soya
1974 – Al Powers joins NOW Foods
1975 – Retail stores adopt the name The Fruitful Yield
1978 – NOW expands operations and moves to 7,000 square foot Villa Park location
1983 – NOW introduces Max EPA; within two years sales reach an all-time high
1985 – Elwood’s son, Dan Richard, joins NOW Foods and upgrades labels and catalog
1988 – NOW moves into a 12,000 square foot facility in Glendale Heights, Illinois
1991 – HealthCo™, NOW's International division, is launched by Dan’s brother, David Richard
1993 – NOW celebrates 25 years in business
1994 – NOW expands again and moves to the Mitchell Road location in Glendale Heights (45,000 square feet)
1995 – Jim Emme joins NOW as Plant Manager
1998 – NOW moves into state-of-the-art 203,000 square foot facility in Bloomingdale, designed by Elwood’s brother Louis Richard
1999 – NOW wins an unprecedented 32 Vity Awards
2000 – NOW earns GMP certification from the NPA (then NNFA) with an ‘A’ rating, and attains certified organic manufacturer status
2000 – NOW purchases Puresource in Guelph, Ontario
2003 – NOW is named Manufacturer of the Year by Nutrition Industry Executive Magazine
2003 – NOW opens shipping facility in Sparks, Nevada
2005 – Elwood Richard retires; Al Powers named president
2005 – NOW acquires Burnham Labs and begins in-house manufacturing of personal care products
2006 – NOW becomes the first for-profit business in DuPage County to fly the Earth Flag
2007 – NOW honored by Nutrition Business Journal for “Efforts on Behalf of Industry” and “Educational Initiatives”
2007 – NOW purchases ICP-MS machine for the advanced testing of heavy metals
2008 – NOW celebrates its 40th anniversary
2008 – NOW named the #1 selling brand in the natural channel according to SPINScan Natural
2009 – NOW expands, adding an additional 45,000 square feet of manufacturing and laboratory space at our Glen Ellyn Road plant
2012 – NOW builds and moves into new 130,000 square foot facility in Sparks, Nevada to better serve West coast customers
2012 – NOW’s President, Al Powers, is promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NOW Health Group, Inc.
2012 – NOW’s Chief Operations Officer, Jim Emme, is promoted to President of NOW
2012 – NOW founder Elwood Richard inducted into the inaugural Industry Hall of Legends
2012 - NOW moves into its new corporate headquarters at 244 Knollwood Drive in Bloomingdale, Illinois
2013 – NOW celebrates its 45th anniversary
2013 – NOW’s new Sparks, Nevada facility is LEED Silver Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council
2014 – NOW Health Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Al Powers retires
2014 – NOW Health Group President Jim Emme is promoted to Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
2014 – NOW wins 7th consecutive Chicago 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For award
2014 – NOW wins first National 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For award
2014 – NOW founder Elwood Richard honored with the Natural Product Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award
2014 – NOW recognized as a “Founding Supporter” by Vitamin Angels for 20 years of support