Bob's Red Mill
Milwaukie, Oregon, |
|Bob Moore, founder|
|Products||natural, gluten free and organic foods|
Number of employees
Bob's Red Mill is a brand produced by employee-owned American company Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods of Milwaukie, Oregon, United States. The company was established in 1978 by Bob and Charlee Moore.
Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods is a producer of natural, certified organic, and gluten-free milled grain products, billing itself as the "nation's leading miller of diverse whole-grain foods." Its products are distributed throughout the United States, Canada, and a number of other locations such as the Caribbean. It produces over 400 products, primarily whole grains that are ground with quartz millstones which come from several 120-year-old mills, as well as baking mixes, beans, seeds, nuts, dried fruits, spices, and herbs. They are sold through seventy natural food and specialty grocery distributors in the United States and Canada, their online store, and the company's factory store and restaurant.
Moore's beginnings as a business owner was in gas, not grains. In the 1950s, he owned a filling station in Los Angeles. The smog problem in the city caused Bob and his wife Charlee to sell the station, and move to Mammoth Lakes, a small resort town in the mountains just to the north of Los Angeles where he opened a second gas station. It failed badly and the family was forced to move temporarily into an rental owned by their minister. Moore got a job working as a manager at a Firestone Tires store and got back on his feet. He bought a five-acre goat farm where he and Charlee raised their boys. He and his sons sold milk and eggs locally. Charlee began experimenting with baking whole grain breads.
Moore's drive for healthier foods started with his father's death of a heart attack at age 49, and his grandmother's healthy eating obsession.
He began experimenting with stone ground flours in the mid 1960s after reading “John Goffe’s Mill,” a book about an archeologist who rebuilt a flour mill and went into business with no prior experience. Stone grinding, largely abandoned when the flour industry moved to steel rollers, used quartz millstones that operate at lower temperatures and blend the germ, its oil, the bran, and the endosperm, preserving the nutrition in the grains. He found his first traditional stone-grinding flour millstones from a company in North Carolina while he was working, at the time, for J.C. Penney. The equipment sat for a few years until Moore, his wife, and two of his three sons started their first mill business, Moore's Flour Mill in Redding, California.
Bob and his wife retired from the Redding Mill and left one of his sons to run it. That mill still produces some products under contract with Moore's current company. The Moores moved to Portland, where Bob attended a seminary to study the Bible for about six months. Bob found a commercial flour mill in Oregon City that was for sale, painted it red, and went back into the flours business. Moore bought mill stones from the closed Boyd mill near Dufur, Oregon. He acquired other stones from old mills in Indiana and Tennessee. The business that is now Bob's Red Mill began producing stone ground flours and cereals for the local area. In 1978, Moore sold direct through his store until he made a deal with the Fred Meyer grocery stores to carry his products 
In 1988, annual sales to area health food stores and smaller grocers were approaching $3M when the original mill was destroyed by an arsonist’s fire. The stones were spared from the fire. Grain from the second floor fell on them in the fire which extinguished the flames around the mills themselves, keeping the quartz stones from shattering in the heat, and preserving the gears that turned them.
The company built a new mill in Milwaukie, Oregon after Moore was flown around the state by friends unsuccessful in finding an existing mill that would do. The couple borrowed $2.5M to rebuild the factory and warehouse in a new 60,000 sq. ft. facility. Bob continued to grow the business by working with small markets, local retail and larger wholesale customers, rather than a corporate approach. The Moores were early to the whole grains movement, when other suppliers were making more money making faster, cheaper product. They also were one of the first gluten-free mills in 1991, and one of the first to offer specialty grains and cereals in retail-sized packaging. They were the one of the first flour mills to open up labs that tested their products to certify organic and gluten-free compliance.
In 1996, the Moores took on partners to expand and pay off their debt. Dennis Gilliam, who came from the printing business, became their vice-president of sales and marketing. John Wagner became vice-president of administration. Gilliam expanded the company into larger wholesaling with California-based Quality Brokerage and Nature's Best, the company's first large regional distributors.
Wagner helped the company control debt by directing the building of machinery in-house, establishing their own repair, and helping with acquisitions of used machinery for needed expansion from older and closed mills like Seattle-based Fisher Mills, Inc.
In 2005, it was estimated that Bob's Red Mill's annual revenue was between US$30 million and $50 million.
In June 2007, the company announced that it was moving both its administrative headquarters, and manufacturing and warehousing facility to a 325,000-square-foot (30,200 m2) building from its original 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m2) facility, which it plans[needs update] to sell and sub-lease. Its current manufacturing facility is 82,000 square feet (7,600 m2). The new facility will triple the company's manufacturing capacity.
As of 2005, its products were available in Japan and the company intends to expand distribution to other countries.
In 2011, the Moores donated $5 million to Oregon State University to develop a center to study whole grains and over $1 million to a local naturopathic college, both for the study of childhood obesity.
- Tims, Dana (February 16, 2010). "Founder of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods transfers business to employees". The Oregonian. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
- Meet Bob and Charlee BobsRedMill.com - Official Site
- Strom, Shelly. Taking Red Mill global. Portland Business Journal, February 18, 2005.
- Rose, Michael. Bob's Red Mill is doing just fine, thank you. Portland Business Journal, March 26, 1999.
- Griepentrog, Troy (June 1, 2015). "Gluten-Free Baking Mixes and Other Gluten-Free Products". Mother Earth News. Retrieved June 6, 2015.
- Bob's Red Mill - Funding Universe
- "Bob Moore: A man with a mill and a mission" - Suzanne Snider, Washington Post, April 26, 2011
- The Mill - BobsRedMill.com - Official Site
- Brinckman, Jonathan. Bob's Red Mill moves to larger Milwaukie building. The Oregonian, June 7, 2007.
- Kish, Matthew. Bob's in the mill biz for the long haul. Portland Business Journal June 15, 2007
- Article from Portland Business Journal, November 26, 1999
- Article from Portland Business Journal, November 14, 2002