Grain millerBob Moore

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Born in Oregon and raised in California, Moore drifted around quite a bit, job-wise. He served in the U.S. Army. Owned two gasoline stations. Worked at Sears and J.C. Penney. In a visit to a library in his 50s, Moore picked up the book John Goffe’s Mill (1948), which told the story of a man who inherited an old gristmill, and decided to put it back into production and run it despite having no experience in the industry. Moore and his wife decided to do that too, starting Moores’ Flour Mill in Redding, Calif., in 1974. A local group came to him to ask if he could help them buy gluten-free products, specifically xanthan gum, used in gluten-free baking to replicate the elasticity gluten adds to baked goods. A few years later, the mill burned down.

A sample Bob’s product. His face is on every product.

Deciding they needed more space anyway, in part to ensure they had separate areas for gluten and non-gluten products, the Moores headed back to Oregon, and started a new mill in the Portland suburb of Milwaukie. They called it Bob’s Red Mill, and put a sketch of his face on the label. Demand for the Red Mill’s products exploded, particularly thanks to the company’s proven dedication to ensuring the gluten-free products really were free of gluten. What if testing shows some gluten got into a product? They don’t throw it away. “We move it to the conventional line,” he said in an interview. “It’s just not going to into a bag labeled gluten-free.”

Bob in a recent photo (Bob’s Red Mill)

By 2010, revenues hit $100 million — but Moore wanted to retire. Other companies had tried to buy Bob’s, but he turned them down: “It’s not for sale,” he told a reporter. Instead, he gave his shares in the company to his employees, the percentage based on how long each had worked there. He finally retired in 2018, but stayed on as a Board member until his death. Robert Gene Moore died February 10, 5 days before he would have turned 95.

From This is True for 18 February 2024

8 Comments on “Bob Moore, Grain miller”

  1. You left out Bob’s Golden Spurtle®!!!!!

    Moore won the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Championship in Scotland on October 8, 2016 (his first time competing in any type of cooking competition) using, of course, Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats.

    In all of the bios about him I read, it wasn’t mentioned. -rc

  2. The Bob’s Red Mill Store is a wonderful place to visit if you are in the Portland OR area. There are so many products to discover and they serve delicious, healthy food. Bob was a lovely gentleman.

  3. Been buying their products for years. I was impressed that he passed the company on to his employees! I like worker owned businesses.

  4. I’ve purchased a lot of Bob’s Red Mill products over many years. They are fine quality and easily accessible. Thanks for ”the rest of the story.” 🤓

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