Bob Moore, America’s Grain Crusader continues giving away his hard earned money to his employees. What prompted his remarkable generosity?
Among the crowd at the Canadian Health Food Association show, was a man signing books and posing for pictures with passers-by. That couldn’t be Santa Claus, I thought to myself. On closer look, he was the man in the backdrop, Bob Moore of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods.
Bob Moore is a man full of zest for life and people. His vigour is akin to an Energizer Bunny®. He is America’s Grain Crusader whose iconic face graces over 400 varieties of products that the mill sells. Moore’s mission is to advocate the goodness of whole grain foods and healthy eating. That is perhaps, what keeps the Founder and CEO of Bob’s Red Mill going strong at 86.
There is never a dull moment in Moore’s life. His vision is pragmatic, his influence is persuasive, and his determination is nothing short of heroic – a risk taker with great resilience, and a generous heart. In his inspiring biography, People before Profit, he described his captivating life journey from being a near high school dropout to serving in the army – and relishing machinery-related jobs he took on before launching his own milling business in his middle age – then overcoming the tough hurdles that followed.
It was his wife and greatest supporter, Charlee who got him hooked on whole grains in the 1950s. Together with their two sons, they pioneered in 1974, their first grain-milling business in Redding, California. Four years later, he and his wife retired to Oregon. As it turned out, Moore’s retirement was short lived. The “miller” in him awakened when he discovered a dilapidated mill on his walk around Oregon’s Milwaukie neighbourhood. Bob’s Red Mill opened its door in 1978.
People before Profit
Ten years to the mill’s launching, a devastating fire razed the facility. At 60, most people would have called it quits, not Moore. It was not an option. His employees were important to him, they are like his second family, and he wasn’t going to leave them without jobs. As a kid, he learned from his dad to keep showing up, and moving forward no matter what the circumstances. Rising from the ashes, he developed creative ways to rebuild his business. Together with his dedicated team, they grew the humble company to a multi-million dollar corporation with products currently distributed in over 80 countries worldwide.
On his 81st birthday, Moore made national headlines when he first gave away nearly a third of his ownership of Bob’s Red Mill to his employees through an employee stock ownership plan. Five years later, he continues with his philanthropic gesture.
When Moore is not on the road advocating the nutritious values of whole grains and healthy diets, he would be working the millstones, entertaining visitors together with his executive assistant, Nancy Garner on the piano or hosting mill tours. One of the highlights of touring Oregon is a visit to Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukie.
On December 5th, the city will be hosting the annual Umbrella Parade and Tree Lighting event.