Sponsored by Oregon Business

Q&A with Bob of Bob's Red Mill

| Print |  Email
Archives - July 2008
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

The week journalism died

Linda Baker
Sunday, February 15, 2015
deadjournalismthumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

As the investigation against the governor moves forward, those of us in the news business should reflect on our own potential for subverting the democratic process.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

March 2015
Thursday, February 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Employment in Oregon is almost back up to prerecession levels — and employers are having to work harder to entice talented staff to join their ranks. This year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project showcases the kind of quality workplaces that foster happy employees. 


Read more...

Where do Portland demographics rank among the largest 50 cities in the US?

The Latest
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
thumbpdxinperspectiveBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The Portland in Perspective study, done by the City Budget Office, was released Tuesday.


Read more...

10 Twitter highlights from #OR100Best

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015
100bestBY OB STAFF

Oregon Business held its  22nd annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon celebration Thursday night in the Oregon Convention Center.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

Labor Pains

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Thinking about starting an internship program? Be careful. Navigating unpaid internships can be tricky.


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