Sponsored by Oregon Business

Q&A with Bob of Bob's Red Mill

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, July 01, 2008

BobMoore.jpg

RISING PRICES and lackluster consumer spending isn’t bad for all businesses. Take food for example. After all, you’ve got to eat, right? Accordingly, the dough (pun intended) is rising at the newly refurbished 320,000- square-foot facility at Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods in Milwaukie. Known for its whole-grain mixes and cereals, the company’s new digs doubles its manufacturing capacity, necessary because the business is growing 25% annually (the company doesn’t disclose financial figures).

On a recent tour of the mill, owner and president Bob Moore reached into a freshly milled sack of flax seeds. In his palm he held yellow flour as if he were a prospector on the banks of a river, beaming at his discovery of gold.

At 49, you went from running auto service centers in
California to making specialty grain products. How’d that happen? In the service station business I thought I was invincible. I bought a service station in Mammoth Lakes. It took me a year to lose everything. It was terrible, a real disaster. We ended up back in Sacramento living on a farm. There my wife, Charlee, started baking whole-wheat bread and I thought, “This is the way people are supposed to eat.” Then after moving to Redding to run an auto center, I ran across a book called John Goffe’s Mill by George Woodbury. It was about a man who inherited an old mill and revived it with his family. I thought this guy didn’t know beans about milling when he started, and if he did it, I can do it.



You’re now 79, an age when most are retired. Why not cash in and take up a hobby? I don’t fish. I don’t play golf. Retirement is doing what you want to do, isn’t it? My first goal was to be in business for myself. I discovered the freedom of being in business for myself was more important than the heavy responsibility of being in business for myself. I have almost 200 employees. That’s different than a hobby or retirement. I am not going to let it go real quick.



Of your 400 products, which is your favorite? I eat flax seed every day. And there’s nothing in this world I enjoy more than whole-grain bread.



Besides eating whole grains, any advice for young entrepreneurs? If you put something on a list and put it in front of you it’s like magic. Anchor yourself to some ideals and hold onto the rope that is attached to something. My way of doing that is making fairly complex lists.



Have you been approached about selling your business? Everybody loves my business. Investors, everybody wants to buy this thing. I never talk to anybody. I am not interested.

JASON SHUFFLER

PHOTO BY ADAM BACHER

To comment, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

More Articles

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

Game On

March 2015
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The big news at Oregon Business is we’re getting a ping pong table. After reading the descriptions of the 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, a disproportionate number of which feature table tennis in the office, I decided it was time to bring our own workplace into the 21st century. It was a tough call, but it’s lonely at the top, and someone has to make the hard decisions.


Read more...

Grassroots movement pursues carbon bills

News
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
eventthumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A partnership of a grassroots environmental organization and a youth group is striving to build community and business support for carbon price legislation.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS