The founder of Bob’s Red Mill, Bob Moore, sadly passed away on February 10, 2024, at the age of 94. His company has long been known for not only its whole grain products but also its compassion toward employees. According to a report in Fortune, Mr. Moore chose an unconventional approach toward ownership over his company. Instead of selling out to a large food conglomerate, the benevolent founder entrusted full ownership of the company to his 700 employees.

In 2010, Mr. Moore launched an employee stock ownership plan for his then 209 employees. This initial passing of ownership occurred on the founder’s 81st birthday. By April 2020, the company had grown to 700 workers, becoming fully employee-owned before his passing earlier this month.

Mr. Moore spoke on this move, saying he intended to avoid conventional business models, which only work in favor of owners and management as they prioritize profits over employees. He said, “I learned almost 70 years ago how integral hard work and kindness is to success.” Mr. Moore continued, “As our small business grew, I realized I had a great opportunity for generosity. My favorite Bible scripture, Matthew 7:12, says do unto others what you’d want them to do unto you. That’s something I think we should all live by.”

In 2018, the benevolent businessman stated that Bob’s Red Mill was “An absolute dream come true.” Mr. Moore spoke in a separate interview saying that he resisted many offers to sell the company because of his sheer love for it. He said, “They thought I was just a lame-brained idiot because I didn’t want to sell my company. They told me how stupid I was, but you can’t build what I’ve built and be really stupid.”

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Even though Mr. Moore officially retired in 2018, the founder remained on the company’s board until his passing. When asked about his keys to success, he claimed that the secret was always remaining focused on his true north. Mr. Moore said, “I’ve traveled all over the world. I have a lovely home. I’ve been successful. I haven’t squandered my money. It’s a wonderful pleasure to have enough to do these things, but here’s the thing: you need to have a purpose.”

Before establishing Bob’s Red Mill at the age of 49, Mr. Moore was a store manager and later a gas station owner. The millionaire founder came out of early retirement to start the company and was well-known for having dedicated himself to the study of the Bible. As of 2018, Mr. Moore’s company was estimated to be worth over $100 million in revenue, according to Forbes. Bob’s Red Mill continues to sell more than 200 products in over 70 countries worldwide.

Bob’s Red Mill officially announced Mr. Moore’s death in a statement that read in part, “Bob’s passion, ingenuity, and respect for others will forever inspire the employee-owners of Bob’s Red Mill, and we will carry on his legacy by bringing wholesome foods to people around the world. We will truly miss his energy and larger-than-life personality.”