ONTD Political

Owner of Multi-Million Dollar Company Hands Over Business to Employees

9:08 pm - 11/12/2012
Before the words "whole grain" and "organic" became part of Americans' everyday vocabulary, Bob Moore knew the importance of healthful eating.
In 1978, he started Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, as a small family-run business in Oregon selling stone mill-ground whole grains.
The company has since grown into a multi-million dollar business that sells more than 400 whole grain products including flours, hot cereals, and organic and gluten-free products.
Moore is dedicated to making America healthier and he believes Bob's Red Mill is a small part of the solution.
"Our company needs to exist so that some of the people that eat our product will be healthier -- and I think they will be," he said.
Employee-Run Business
Moore's work is a way of life and his employees are a second family, which is why he announced this week that he's handing over the keys to his 209 employees.
Moore said he's gotten countless buy-out offers over the years, but he couldn't envision selling the business to a stranger.
"It's the only business decision that I could make," he said. "I don't think there's anybody worthy to run this company but the people who built it. I have employees with me right now that have been with me for 30 years. They just were committed to staying with me now and they're going to own the company."
The company will now be run by an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) -- the idea being that a company's stock is put in a retirement plan for its employees, but the stock is never held or bought directly by individuals. When a vested employee retires, he can pull out money from the trust.

Approximately 11,000 companies now have ESOP plans, covering more than 13 million employees, according to the National Center for Employee Ownership.

Thinking of What's Best for the Group

If making Americans healthier is his passion, encouraging good business practices and entrepreneurship is his mandate.
"There's a lot of negative stuff going into business today," he said. "It's a good old basic Bible lesson -- love of money is the root of all evil. And unfortunately, our entire philosophy today is get all the money you can and whatever way you can. It's caused many corporations to bite off more than they can chew. And it causes people to do a lot of things just for money that they feel in their hearts is not the right thing to do."
With his own company, Moore has tried to do just the opposite. In a refreshing twist to the typical tenets of corporate America, Moore thinks of his employees and customers first and foremost.

Building a Business
Politics aside, Moore said there is no secret to building a successful business, just hard work and luck.
"You can sell your house, take your money, and test the waters by doing something you believe in," he said. "And maybe you'll be successful and maybe you won't, and that's what entrepreneuring has been for me, and I have failed."
Earlier in his life, Moore owned a gas station that he thought was a great success. It flourished for five years, but ultimately went under. And in 1988, his mill was burned down by an arsonist.
"I lost everything," he said. "I lost our entire investment. I know what it feels like in my stomach when you can't pay the bills."
But he learned from his mistakes and kept taking chances, eventually making his mark in American households.
No Slowing Down
Retirement is not in Moore's sights anytime soon. He celebrated his 81st birthday this week and plans to continue to serve on the company's board of directors.
"I'm never going to retire," he said. "I love coming to work. I love the challenges, and working with people and the way that you get to do that when you're in business."

nice to know not all big business is evil. 

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chimbleysweep 13th-Nov-2012 06:00 am (UTC)
I use that flour and I like it, so I'm relieved to know the company isn't run by assholes.

It can be done!

Edited at 2012-11-13 07:18 am (UTC)
hinoema 13th-Nov-2012 06:51 am (UTC)
I already buy Bob's products, and now I love them even more.
bellichka 13th-Nov-2012 01:24 pm (UTC)
I know right? Now I'll just support them even more. XANTHAN GUM FOR EVERYONE!
(no subject) - Anonymous
pamelalillian 13th-Nov-2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
what was your major? i gather education but what level/specialization?
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
sfrlz 13th-Nov-2012 08:19 am (UTC)
Awesome! I already buy that flour and this makes me happy after Chik Fil A, Papa Johns, etc. Nice to know my money is going to a company with actual morals for once...
romp 13th-Nov-2012 09:21 am (UTC)
love this story! I suspect the company has even more loyal customers now
atomic_joe2 13th-Nov-2012 09:56 am (UTC)
Ace. This bloke actually seems to have his priorities right.
placetohide 13th-Nov-2012 10:18 am (UTC)
Great products! and great message :D
shortsweetcynic 13th-Nov-2012 11:59 am (UTC)
nice. :) I've loved their stuff for ages. i'm glad i can keep them on the "yes" list, as my "no" list grows ever longer.
radname 13th-Nov-2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
so nice to hear this. My mom eats their gluten free cereal, and uses a lot of their gluten free products.
fluffydragon 13th-Nov-2012 01:00 pm (UTC)
same here, but insert husband instead of mom :D

I actually prefer their mighty tasty hot cereal over other options because it doesn't have any added crap - it's just ground grains. I miss my muesli, but I can't have it in the house because hubby is allergic to wheat, along with being intolerant. Have you had the steel-cut oats? they take 20 minutes to cook, but they're delicious
andi1235 13th-Nov-2012 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm GF, so I'm very happy to hear that they don't suck! :)

Yeah, their oats are safe for a gluten free diet, as long as you're careful to buy the ones that say they're gluten free on the bag. They (of course) cost twice as much as regular ones, but they're worth it IMO.

Also, fluffydragon, once you have the GF oats (or quinoa flakes), you can make gluten free granola or muesli. :) http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/gluten-free-muesli/
fluffydragon 13th-Nov-2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
oh yay!!! thanks for the recipe! I'd love to have some around for myself without endangering my husband :D
bellichka 13th-Nov-2012 01:26 pm (UTC)
Yaaaay! *hugs her rics flours, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, steel-cut oats, and rolled oats*
bushy_brow 13th-Nov-2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
I LOVE Bob's Red Mill's stuff, and now I love 'em even more! :-D
secura 13th-Nov-2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
I eat a lot of his stuff! The whole wheat pearled couscous is the best I've ever had.
bnmc2005 13th-Nov-2012 02:55 pm (UTC)
I love their pin oats and have oatmeal every other morning and YES it is great for my health!

Currently snacking on some bread made with their millet and whole wheat flour.

Thanks Bob!
bnmc2005 13th-Nov-2012 02:56 pm (UTC)
Anyone want to post some recipes?
bellichka 13th-Nov-2012 04:13 pm (UTC)
Bring 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups OJ, and 1/4 cup water to a boil. Add 1.5 cups cranberries. Cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes to steam the quinoa. Fluff and add sugar to taste :). You're welcome.
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