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This Millionaire Gave 700 Workers Ownership Of His Company

Bob Moore, the visionary founder of Bob's Red Mill, passed away at the age of 94 on February 10, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of generosity, integrity, and dedication to his employees. Renowned for its whole grain products and commitment to employee welfare, Bob's Red Mill stands as a testament to Moore's unconventional approach to business ownership. Rather than succumbing to the allure of selling his company to a food conglomerate, Moore made the bold decision to transfer full ownership of the firm to its 700 employees, embodying his belief in prioritizing people over profits.

This unique ownership structure was not a recent development; in 2010, on his 81st birthday, Moore initiated an employee stock ownership plan, granting ownership stakes to his then 209 employees. Over the years, as the company flourished and expanded its workforce, Moore's vision of employee ownership remained steadfast, culminating in the entire workforce becoming stakeholders in the company long before his passing.

Moore's philosophy was rooted in the principle of treating others with kindness and generosity, a sentiment he derived from his deep-seated values and religious beliefs. Quoting Matthew 7:12 from the Bible, he emphasized the importance of reciprocity and empathy in all aspects of life and business. For Moore, success was not measured solely in financial terms but in the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others, exemplified by his unwavering commitment to his employees' well-being.

Despite facing skepticism and pressure to sell his company, Moore remained resolute in his decision to maintain ownership and autonomy over Bob's Red Mill. His steadfast determination to uphold his principles earned him admiration and respect, even as he rejected lucrative offers in favor of preserving the integrity of his business.

Throughout his illustrious career, Moore remained actively involved in the company's operations, serving on the board until his passing, despite officially retiring in 2018. He attributed his success to staying true to his "true north," a guiding principle that kept him focused on his goals and values amidst life's challenges and temptations.

Bob Moore's journey to entrepreneurship was unconventional; at the age of 49, he ventured into the natural foods industry after a career in the gas station business and retail management. Inspired by his passion for healthy living and his deep study of the Bible, Moore embarked on a new chapter, ultimately establishing Bob's Red Mill as a global leader in wholesome food products.

Under Moore's leadership, Bob's Red Mill experienced remarkable growth, with revenues exceeding $100 million as of 2018, and its products reaching consumers in over 70 countries. Moore's commitment to quality, integrity, and the well-being of his employees propelled the company to unprecedented heights, solidifying its reputation as a beacon of ethical business practices.

As news of Moore's passing reverberated throughout the industry, the company paid tribute to his indelible legacy, pledging to carry on his vision of bringing wholesome foods to people worldwide. Moore's spirit of passion, ingenuity, and respect for others will continue to inspire the employee-owners of Bob's Red Mill, ensuring that his legacy endures for generations to come.

Feb. 21, 2024 2:31 p.m. 1807

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