The Whole Package

Tab 1

September 05, 2014


Make something you love as well as humanly possible. Act with honesty and integrity. Charge a fair price. Don’t cut corners. Treat people with respect. And at the end of the day, your product should be a good thing — because we’re here to help others, to add something, to make people happier and healthier for doing what we do.

 

That’s the way to run a business, says Bob Moore, CEO and Founder of natural foods company Bob’s Red Mill, based in Milwaukie, Oregon. More than that, Bob lives by these principles. They’ve helped make Bob’s Red Mill the success it is today with annual sales of more than $100 million, 400 products and distribution in 81 countries.

 

Most importantly, these principles have helped Moore achieve his unique goals: taking care of others and providing nutritious food. “The whole world needs whole grains,” he says.

 

And it all started because of a misplaced library book.

 

Photo provided by Bob's Red Mill

 

A Path to a Healthy Future

John Goffe’s Mill by George Woodbury lay discarded on a table in the Redding Public Library in California when Bob visited one day in 1967. The book told the story of how Woodbury, an archaeologist, inherited a stone-grinding mill in Bedford, New Hampshire, in 1939. He moved his family there and got the mill running again, much to the public’s delight.

Tab 2

September 05, 2014


Woodbury’s book gave shape to an idea Bob had conceived years before when he and his wife, Charlee, revamped their family’s eating habits after reading about the importance of healthy, natural eating. When Bob read Woodbury’s book, he decided a milling business was the way to help people by providing healthy food products.

 

In 1972 — after purchasing equipment from a closing mill in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and learning everything he could — Bob and his family opened Moores’ Flour Mill in a Redding, California industrial building.

 

“When we opened, we found the same thing that George Woodbury did with his ancestors’ mill,” Bob says. “The public beat a path to our door.”

Magical Moments

Moores’ Flour Mill flourished, and in 1978, Bob and Charlee retired to Portland, Oregon, to study the Bible at Western Evangelical Seminary (which is now George Fox Evangelical Seminary). Their eldest sons, Ken and Bob, took over the Redding mill (their third son, David, is a pilot), expanded it and continue to run it today. They provide Bob’s Red Mill with granola and polenta products.

 

During Bob and Charlee’s time auditing seminary classes, they spent hours walking around the Portland area and memorizing vocabulary in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. On one walk, they discovered an old mill for sale, a moment in his life that Bob calls magical. Although they continued auditing seminary courses for two years, Bob’s love for business and desire to provide people with quality food led them to open another mill.

 

 

Tab 3

September 05, 2014


To do so, Bob went to the U.S. Bank branch in Oregon City for a line of credit. After a few months, Bob’s Red Mill was open for business, and Portlanders were clamoring for the nutritious products. Before long, they appeared in Fred Meyer grocery stores across the Northwest. Through it all, Bob says, U.S. Bank helped them as they grew and succeeded.

 

In June 1988, Bob faced a major challenge when a fire destroyed the mill. Although he could have retired then, he knew he needed to rebuild for his loyal employees and customers.  U.S. Bank supported his rebuilding and relocation to a better facility in Milwaukie, where the business is located today.

 

All for a Cause

Bob’s dedication to his employees has long been evident. He provides above-market wages, sustainable health care coverage, 401(k) and monthly profit sharing. On his 81st birthday in 2010, he signed paperwork to institute an employee stock ownership plan, suggested by his now-retired financial partner, John Wagner.

 

“My goal is to leave the company with the people who built it, with the hope they will achieve world distribution of whole grains,” he says

“What I sell is something I believe in.”

 

"My goal is to leave the company with the people who built it, with the hope they will achieve world distribution of whole grains. What I sell is something I believe in." 

—Bob Moore

 

This devotion to worldwide health and nutrition is also evident in his and Charlee’s philanthropy efforts, which include more than $30 million in combined gifts to Oregon Health & Science University, National College of Natural Medicine and Oregon State University. These funds have helped establish programs focused on reducing the prevalence of adult chronic diseases, ending childhood obesity and educating the community about healthy eating.

 

Meanwhile, Bob is as active now as he was at the beginning of his milling career. And 42 years after opening his first mill, he keeps a copy of Woodbury’s book on his desk. It’s a wonderful reminder, he says, of how fate works—inspiring the start of something you never imagined, taking your life in a different direction and causing you to focus on something wonderful. 

 

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