Heaven-Sent Employer

Recently, a very short interview in the New York Times caught my attention. The person being interviewed was a small businessman named Bob Moore, the founder of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. Now Bob’s Red Mill makes a product I buy regularly. For at least a year now, in an effort to improve my cholesterol, I’ve been making hot cereal for breakfast--a concoction of oat bran, oat flakes, ground flax and, for the best taste, a multi-grain cereal blend made by Mr. Moore’s company. You can read the interview (“Still Minding the Mill” (July 16) or simply take in my summary and comment below.

It has a “made-good” story line: After a youth full of hard work and a term of service in the military, Bob Moore found himself inspired by a book about a fellow who inherited a flour mill. At the same time, Mr. Moore’s wife was learning about the virtues of eating whole grains rather than processed foods. Together the Moores decided to buy an old mill in Redding, Calif., and to start a family business that would include their two sons. The business was not without its setbacks. When Mr. Moore was 60, an arsonist burned down Moore’s Flour Mill. Any owner might have quit at that point. But for the sake of his sons and their families, Mr. Moore rebuilt the business. Later, he sold it to his sons and moved to Portland, Ore., where, for the third time, he set up a mill. Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods has flourished.

Advertisement

This year, at 81, Mr. Moore has finally retired. And in a gesture of uncommon gratitude, he has given the Red Mill to his employees through an employee stock ownership plan. “I could have sold it. We get plenty of offers,” he told the interviewer. “But my employees, including the sales staff all over the world, have really made it what it is today.”

 Many might refer to Bob Moore as a self-made man. But that would mean overlooking the contribution of his wife, his sons, and his workers, which Mr. Moore has refused to do. Instead, he acknowledges what is true for all: business is a joint enterprise dependent on its workers.

 It’s a story to reconsider on Labor Day.

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Jim McCrea
8 years 1 month ago
What did this do to his stock options?  His profit-based incentive plan?  His reward from the Board of Directors for maximizing return on sale?

And his kids won't be able to take advantage of tax-advantaged inheritances in the future.

Oh -

Advertisement

The latest from america

Father Michael Nixon and parishioner work a volunteer table at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Much like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, the low-income neighborhoods east of Panama City, where St. Dominic is located, were especially hard-hit by the storm. Now residents here are desperate for help.
Atena SherryOctober 18, 2018
“I believe there are adequate, alternative options for true women’s health care out there, and Planned Parenthood is not needed,” said Alisha Fox, a health and wellness coach at a Catholic fertility center in Chicago.
Colleen ZeweOctober 18, 2018
 Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Souraphiel highlighted the role globalization plays in connecting young people in unjust ways.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 18, 2018
The pope said he would visit North Korea “if an official invitation arrives.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 18, 2018