These days, the choices for sustainable living have expanded to encompass everything from fruits and vegetables to housecleaning and hardwood floors. And most of the green choices are equally beneficial to planet and body, reducing the effects of common allergens while minimizing our carbon footprint. The suburbs abound with entrepreneurs ready to serve the environmental concerns of families and households across our communities.
At the most basic of concerns is the air we breathe. Since 1974, E.L. Foust Co., Inc. has manufactured air purifiers designed for people with multiple chemical sensitivities, environmental illness, allergies and asthma.
“Before there even was a green market, we were selling and making green products,” says President Joe Muchow. “We're kind of a leading edge company. That's what the basis of this company was, was to make air purifiers that did not have toxicity. Our customers are the ones who need it most.”
Edwin Foust's own wife suffered from severe environmental illness and allergies, leading him to create such air purifiers. The company has evolved over the years, now also carrying water filters, HVAC filters and home and environment products like paints, building and construction materials, cleaning products and detergents, vacuums and even personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, styling items and even baby products like baby wash and baby powder.
“Everything we have is geared toward very safe products,” Muchow says.
Many of E. L. Foust's customers are challenged by severe sensitivities and allergies, and their tolerance levels have become the bar the company considers.
“We carry products for people who are so chemically ill, they can't deal with the normal things that don't make most people sick,” Muchow says. “They're really the standard we go by.”
E. L. Foust is located at 754 Industrial Drive in Elmhurst. They are open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Shopping is also available online at www.foustco.com.
Once the air is clean and pure, focus for many moms shifts to the things we touch, wear and use every day. These were the very concerns that drove Rebecca Klinger top open EcoManiacs.
With a daughter with severe food allergies and brothers with a severe allergy to propylene glycol, the business seemed a natural progression.
EcoManiacs is an environmentally friendly and socially conscious certified green boutique specializing in toys, books, apparel and accessories for the family. It opened to the public in December 2012 and is the brainchild of mother-daughter duo Leah Kroeger and Klinger.
“When we first opened, people just kind of thought we were a toy store,” Klinger says. “But now that sustainable and natural is coming more to the forefront and becoming more accessible, we have definitely seen a bigger influx of people.”
Toys, books and puzzles are some of the store's most popular items with toys made from recycled milk jugs, organic cotton teethers, sustainably-harvested wooden toys being some of the most sought-after items. Everything is BPA free and completely chemical free.
The store also regularly offers educational events.
“It's just something we've felt compelled to do from the beginning,” she says. “We teach people how to lessen their impact on the environment and help them feel they are doing their part.” In August 2013, EcoManiacs was certified as a Green Business by the Illinois Green Business Association.
Find EcoManiacs at 74 S. La Grange Road in downtown LaGrange. The store is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays.