The Fruitful Yield Elmhurst Staff. Some of the team with Store Manager, DJ Ryan, Ellie and Maria, at the Elmhurst Fruitful Yield store at 135 N. Addison Avenue.

By Larry Atseff

Elmhurst Magazine likes to tell success stories. You will love this one.

Fruitful Yield health food stores were started at York and Third Street, right here in Elmhurst, in 1962 by Elwood Richard. The original name was “Health House”. It was changed to “Fruitful Yield” in 1971 and today there are 12 Fruitful Yields in the Chicagoland area.

In 1968, Elwood Richard also founded NOW® Foods. Today, under that brand name, the company offers various calcium, magnesium, minerals, and probiotics that you can find in health food sections of grocery stores all over the world. It is one of the industry’s most recognizable brands and has remained true to Elwood’s original vision – to meet consumer needs for healthy foods by offering affordable, high-quality natural products.

To learn about this amazing company, we visited with DJ Ryan, store manager for Fruitful Yield, and his staff at the Elmhurst store, which is now located at 135 N. Addison.

He said, “For the last 60+ years, we have been empowering people to lead healthier lives. We offer healthy products at honest prices from brands that you can trust. I invite your readers to come by and speak with any of our team members or myself. All of us have been extensively trained and we are more than happy to answer any questions you may have as you start your journey to wellness. We have plenty of literature as well. We have a great loyalty rewards program, and samples. You can also shop online at and pay for it online. We pull your order, and you can then pick it up in-store or curbside.”

How did all this happen? It seems that Elwood Richard was always ahead of others as the health food boom took off in the mid-60s.

Back then, people were just starting to demand more transparent labeling of foods and beverages. He started with more natural and less processed foods. Then he began adding supplements like vitamins and minerals. Then he started the NOW® Foods line. (The entire company is still run by the Richard family.)

As demand grew for healthier foods, in the stores, he started adding more plant-based dairy products like milk, cheeses, and meats. Today, you can even get plant-based ice cream and coffee. Fresh, all-organic natural, vegetables are delivered twice a week.

There are gluten-free breads and other baked goods. Freezers are full of fresh frozen items, including healthy frozen pizzas. There are whole sections of health-oriented beverages.

All of it is healthy and getting better tasting. This includes other oxymorons like healthy chips and candies that you will find down the snack aisle.

There are sections for health and beauty aids for men and women like collagens, soaps, amino acids, essential oils, and more. There are sections for pre-natal items, baby’s and children’s foods, beverages, and supplements. There is even a section for healthy pet foods and supplements.

With 14,000 items, all the Fruitful Yields are as complete a grocery store as you will need, from organic foods to homeopathy alternative medicines and herbal remedies.

You might even say, Fruitful Yield has become a truly fruitful yield for an increasingly health-conscious world, and it all started right here in Elmhurst. ■