I’m already a faithful fan of Bob’s Red Mill because of the company’s dedication in producing healthful whole grain, bean, and seed products. Bob’s Red Mill is able to provide me with everything from popcorn, to organic flaxseeds, to those nutty buckwheat groats I blogged about last week. The company also has a whole line of gluten-free products for those who are gluten-sensitive.
In addition to the remarkable products the Bob’s Red Mill produces, I honor its intentions. Quoted from the company’s website, “We are dedicated to producing natural foods in the natural way.” I think so many companies, even those touted as organic, have strayed away from this concept. As much eye-candy as the grocery store holds, it’s gotten to the point where the majority of the products in the typical supermarket are as far from natural and from “real food” as can be. This is frustrating because when I go to the store seeking Earth’s natural, beautiful gifts, I often have to sift through tons and tons of highly processed, unpronounceable ingredient-filled “foods”. Because of this, I am grateful that I am able to trust Bob’s Red Mill. I know that their “whole wheat” products will really be whole wheat without having to turn to the ingredient label and disappointedly find enriched flour listed as the first ingredient.
However, recently Bob’s Red Mill has announced yet another reason why this company holds me as a fan. Just last month, Bob Moore, the founder of the company, turned 81 years old! This is impressive as it is, considering the man is still fully functioning and looks astoundingly great. (Must be all those whole grains and chia seeds he’s eating.) But what’s even more impressive is the fact that on his birthday, he was the one to actually give one of the biggest gifts of all: Bob has given his entire company, currently consisting of 400 different products, away to his employees.
Under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan, Bob unveiled that the ownership of his company would now fall to the hands of his 209 employees.
Bob had numerous lucrative offers that would have allowed him to sell his company for quite a bit of money but he chose to refuse them all.
“In some ways I had a choice,” Bob said, referring to what he could have done with the company he and his wife started 32 years ago. “But in my heart, I didn’t. These people are far too good at their jobs for me to just sell it.”
It was estimated by one source that in the year 2004 the company made over $24 million.
All of the employees are now part of an ESOP, an employee stock ownership plan. This means that the company supplies the plan with its stock, which can now never be bought or held directly. The employees cash out when they decide to retire/quit.
This has obviously made all of the employees stationed in the plant in Miluakee, Oregon ecstatic.
As quoted in the Oregonian: “It just shows how much faith and trust Bob has in us,” said Bo Thomas, the company’s maintenance superintendent, who has put his four children through college during his two decades there. “For all of us, it’s more than just a job. Obviously, it’s the same way for Bob, too.”
Bob has created a world of smiles throughout his past 32 years at the company, making my tummy and numerous others’ happy and healthy. And while he ends his ownership by filling his own employees bodies and minds with joy, he tells the Oregonian: “I may have given them the company,” he said, chuckling, “but the boss part is still mine.”