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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.



Historical milestones

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 - 4,500 square foot 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 Elwood's oldest son, 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 foot)

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 SPINSscan Natural

2009 – NOW expands, adding an additional 45,000 square foot 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

2015 – NOW achieves Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Certification

2015 – NOW wins 2nd consecutive National 101 Best & Brightest to Work For

2015 – NOW wins 8th consecutive Chicago 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

2016 – NOW wins 9th consecutive Chicago Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

2016 – NOW wins 3rd consecutive National 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For

2016 – NOW adds state-of-the-art RiboPrinter® for the verification of probiotic strains

2017 – NOW opens a new 200,000 square foot distribution facility in Roselle, Illinois

2017 – Elwood Richard honored at Natural Products Expo West with American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA) Visionary award

2017 – NOW founder and industry legend Elwood Richard passes

2018 – NOW celebrates 50th anniversary

2018 – NOW Sports rolls out new label design

2018 – NOW Sports achieves Informed-Sport certification

2018 – NOW achieves ISO 22716:2007 certification through UL for all cosmetic products

2020 - NOW Solutions earns PETA’s Cruelty-Free certification, Beauty Without Bunnies

2020 - NOW purchases naming rights to NOW Arena (formerly Sears Centre) in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

2021 - NOW receives ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) for both the analytical and microbiological laboratories