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
7 years 4 months 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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A President Donald Trump supporter is see seen at the annual March for Life in Washington Jan. 27. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
During their tenure in office, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush all addressed the march via telephone or a radio hookup from the Oval Office.
Catholic News ServiceJanuary 18, 2018
Pope Francis greets the crowd before celebrating Mass at Lobito beach in Iquique, Chile, Jan. 18. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“There is no Christian joy when doors are closed; there is no Christian joy when others are made to feel unwanted,” the pope said.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
Men carry a replica of Peru's most revered religious icon, the "Lord of Miracles," during an Oct. 18, 2017 procession in Lima. Each year thousands of Catholics gather to commemorate the image's survival in a 17th-century earthquake that destroyed Lima. (CNS photo/Mariana Bazo, Reuters)
Father Ernesto Cavassa was provincial of the Jesuits in Peru from 1998 to 2004, and president of the Conference of Latin American Jesuit Provincials from 2005 to 2012.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 18, 2018
For over 45 years, Feminists for Life has been committed to ending the practice and legality of abortion and promoting the feminism of Susan B. Anthony.
Serrin M. FosterJanuary 18, 2018