Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1119718

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Page 54 of 155

BOB MOORE BOB'S R ED M I LL B ob Moore, 90, is the patriarch of America's whole grain movement. His smiling, bearded visage is stamped on every package of Bob's Red Mill, a company based outside of Portland, Ore. He and his late wife, Charlee, co-founded the company in the late 1970s. Today more than 400 products—half of them gluten-free—are ubiquitous nationwide and shipped to 81 countries. Granola, paleo baking flour, hazelnut meal, steel cut oats, and organic quinoa are a fraction of their offerings. Healthy eating was not always part of Moore's lifestyle. He was a smok- er until the age of 34 and owned gas stations in California. The first was suc- cessful, the second was not, but he learned how to hire and keep employees and treat customers well. After going broke, he and Charlee and their three boys moved to a five-acre goat dairy farm near Sacramento. During that time, Charlee's grandmother sent them books touting healthy eating. "Frankly, she kind of irritated me," Moore says. The happy result was that Charlee started to bake the best whole grain bread Bob and the boys had ever tasted. Moore ran a Firestone tire store and accepted an opportunity to take over a J.C. Penney automotive center in Redding, Calif. The town library was where Moore, an avid reader, dis- covered "John Goffe's Mill," by George Woodbury. The story of restoring an old mill delighted and inspired him, and he went in search of millstones to grind his own flour. After exhaustive hunting, he found the equipment. "The public beat a path to our door," Moore says of their first mill in Redding. The family pitched in and the Moores' sons run it to this day. Moore was curious to tackle another challenge, reading the Bible in the original Hebrew and Greek. He did not want to become a minister and found a seminary in Portland, Ore. that embraced his goal. He and Charlee relocated and took long walks together, testing themselves on vocabulary cards. One day they came across an abandoned mill, akin to a mirage. He leased it with an option to buy and painted it red. The mill's demands eventually won out over seminary study. Portland had a far bigger populace than Redding and their freshly ground grains were an instant hit. "Back then it was just white bread in grocery stores," Moore says, "and we added a whole new dimension throughout grocery chains in the U.S." An arsonist burned down the wooden mill in 1988. The Moores' dozen or so employees didn't want them to quit, so they used the insurance money to rebuild. A 20,000-square-foot building grew to 50,000, then 325,000, then expanded to 700,000. When Moore turned 81, he gave all employees stock certificates. Bob's Red Mill currently employs about 600 people and his long-range retirement plan is for them to own the company. His sons are okay with that. "I've given many millions of dollars away and it brings great joy," Moore says. "I'm a believer in 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'" —J.B. 52 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

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