MORRIS – Doris Black of Morris walked into Rick’s Body and Soul Health Food Store, which she proclaimed her second home for the past 20 years. She greeted owner Rick Eddy and employee Cindy Shroba, then made her rounds and picked up vitamins and shampoo. She commented that she forgot something on her list and then it popped into her head: “Oh, I forgot my Himalayan sea salt,” she said.
“At my age, I need minerals and various herbs. I also want pure shampoos, soaps and organics. Rick is always here to explain things so that I get what I need to stay well. If I have questions, I know I can always call Rick,” Black said.
For 22 years, Eddy has offered health products in his store, which has held various locations around the Morris area. Since 2008, it has taken up residence across from Canal Port Park.
Eddy did not start out in the health food game. Before he opened his business in 1996, he was in the bar and restaurant business. After he closed that business, he said as he spoke to a friend about his future plans, the friend said Morris needed a health food store.
“I told him, ‘What do I know about the health food business?’ He said, ‘What did you know about the bar business before you went into it?’ ” Eddy said.
He opened his doors with 600 products on the shelves and continually grew because of customer demand. He now offers 11,000 products such as hygiene products, food, vitamins, minerals and snacks. Eddy said that if he does not stock a needed item, he will special-order it, and if the brand meets his high standards, he will stock the item on a regular basis.
“We are always adding products based on the customers’ needs; that’s how I built my business. If they can’t find what they need, I’m glad to stock it for them if that’s what they want and will buy it,” Eddy said.
Black said Eddy has a great variety of everything she needs and he has special-ordered items he has not had in stock. “He will get anything for me and explains about the product.”
Eddy said he stays up on the health trends to meet customer needs and to hopefully bring in those who seek a healthier lifestyle. Currently the big trends include gluten-free foods and products, bone broth proteins, herbs, aloe vera, Ezekiel bread, kombucha drinks, turmeric and local products. He has eggs from The Little Farm on the Prairie in Saunemin, honey from LaSalle County and soaps from Somonauk.
He said his store has a unique quality as well because he offers uncommon products and services as well.
In the corner of the store, he has an olive oil and balsamic vinegar refill station. The customer buys the bottle and fills with product for one price and then can bring the bottle back to refill for less cost. He also has oils, hemp products, organic hair products for African-American hair, as well as other ethnicities, and a kombucha-making kit.
With summer around the corner, Eddy has stocked up on DEET-free insect repellent options such as oils, bands and spray products, as well as coral-safe sunscreens.
Eddy also said his customer service delivery sets him apart from other retailers.
“We have always delivered to the senior citizens. They can’t get out much or they have to wait for a bus. Now, we will deliver to any customer in Morris free of charge,” Eddy said.
Eddy and three-year employee Shroba, who holds a title of certified health coach, said the main concern to the business was customer health and wellness. Those two, along with employee Donna Buchanan, take advantage of down times and educate themselves on the products, new health trends, benefits of different herbs, oils, minerals and vitamins, and what products can benefit certain ailments.
Eddy said they staff does not claim to heal patients, but to give advice and opinions on health.
“Here people can come in and we can spend time with them. They come in here and pick our brains. It’s a beautiful thing. They come in and we ask them a lot of questions so we can hopefully figure out why they are feeling the way they are feeling. We ask about what they are eating and their lifestyle to help them accomplish their goals,” Eddy said.
Where they are located:
Rick’s Body and Soul Health Food Store
320 W. Illinois Ave.
Online: FB Rick’s Body and Soul Health Food Store
A bone broth recipe shared by Dr. Josh Axe:
Serves 4-6, time: 20 minutes
1 cup applesauce
¼ cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut flour
4 scoops pure bone broth protein
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
In a medium bowl, whisk applesauce, eggs and oil together thoroughly. Stir in coconut flour, protein powder and sea salt and allow to sit for five minutes.
Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, drop batter into skillet and fry until bubbles form on one side. Flip, finish cooking and enjoy.