Chris Moore is a creative entrepreneur, a catalytic collaborator, and promoter of sustainable philanthropy. His past and current ventures span technology, brewing, historic redevelopment projects, and entertainment.
Growing up in Vicksburg
Chris grew up within and was deeply formed by the small village of Vicksburg, Michigan, twenty minutes south of Kalamazoo. His roots there are deep, as his family has been woven into the fabric of the village since the 1840s. With parents and grandparents who were community leaders, he grew up learning how to serve and contribute to a community. Vicksburg’s small-town values are deeply ingrained in Chris’ imagination and work ethic.
For a century, Vicksburg’s economic engine and cultural hub was a large paper mill, recognized as an industry leader. The Mill shaped the lives of Vicksburg’s residents, with almost every family having a member employed there, and the factory shift whistle marking time in the town and local fields for miles around.
Chris’ grandfather and father worked at The Mill throughout their professional careers, and he often visited them, fascinated by the scale of the colossal operation. While Chris was in college, he worked summers in The Mill.
Chris is devoted to his hometown’s past. He actively studies the history of Vicksburg and yearns for the village to reclaim its economic luster. He wants Downtown Vicksburg to be significant and vibrant, restored to its historic character, bustling with growing businesses, residents and visitors. College and the Concords Chris studied Liberal Arts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Always an entrepreneur, in college he started a business making stereo speakers. He “balanced” his loud-speaker-making business with his studies—but in truth, the business often won out. Chris left Ann Arbor for the Pacific Northwest to explore and discover what he could create and contribute. He worked for a year at a microbrewery in Portland, Oregon in 1989. Eventually, Chris found a fertile field in the emerging technology sector. Not an engineer himself, Chris showed a knack for spotting opportunities in the marketplace, and organizing people and products to develop them. He launched his first telecommunications company and called it “Concord,” meaning agreement or harmony between people or groups. He saw Concord as a company that brought a benefit to its customers that wasn’t available in the marketplace. Concord evolved through several iterations, keeping up with—and even ahead of—technology and the marketplace. In time, Chris and “the Concords” moved to Seattle. The current Concord Technologies is a pioneering technology company whose products bring automation to manual workflows in healthcare. Concord Technologies is well-known nationwide for providing interoperability to healthcare systems with its cloud-based management of healthcare data. Chris continues to serve as founder/CEO.
Old Stove Brewing/The Pike Place Market
If Concord was Act I in Chris’ career, Act II has been about creating spaces for people to come together around craft beer and entertainment. Chris had stayed active with the craft beer community since working in a microbrewery in 1989. Concord is located next to the world-famous Pike Place Market. The Market has its own community within the big city of Seattle. Chris has been part of this community for 16 years and appreciates the similarities of The Market community to his small-town Vicksburg. Like The Mill at Vicksburg, The Pike Place Market once faced the prospect of the wrecking ball in the 1960s. Short-sighted city government officials favored tearing down all of The Market’s historic buildings and replacing them with parking garages and high rises. Community activism saved The Market from the wrecking ball and afterwards, successful guidelines were enacted for The Market’s preservation and public vitality. Living and working within the Pike Place Market and embracing the “Meet The Producer” motto has influenced Chris considerably. Chris is clearly inspired to have the opportunity to both save historic buildings and be the catalyst to bringing sustainable economic activity to The Mill. In 2016, Chris founded Old Stove Brewery, the only craft brewery located within Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. The name is an homage to the Kalamazoo stoves built in the early 20th century in Kalamazoo county near his hometown of Vicksburg. Since its opening, Old Stove has continued to expand and win numerous recognitions and honors, such as Seattle’s best brewery taproom for 2018. Chris’ commitment to the concept of concord inspires him to create places that promote harmony and happiness. Through Old Stove, he is developing multiple projects at the intersection of brewing, music and sports venues.
The Mill at Vicksburg/Sustainable Philanthropy
The first and second acts are naturally progressing into Act III of Chris’ career: sustainable philanthropy. Chris is grateful for the success he has enjoyed and wants to create opportunities for others to explore what’s possible and discover success. As the paper industry moved away from the Midwest, The Mill sat shuttered and decaying. In 2014, Chris saved The Mill from the wrecking ball by arranging the purchase of the entire facility from the Kalamazoo County Land Bank. Chris is passionate about historic preservation and allowing these historically important buildings to be open and available for the public to enjoy for many generations into the future. Between 2014 and 2018 Chris has invested a significant amount of capital to pay for all of the consultants needed to plan every detail of The Mill redevelopment. Chris believes in environmentally sustainable development and economically sustainable philanthropy. An environmentalist from an early age, Chris is thrilled to have the opportunity to remediate the harm done to the land, river and wetlands that surround The Mill. Chris has committed his own energy and capital to develop the 110 acre campus for craft brewing, entertainment, residential, and tourism. Chris is equally committed to helping further revitalize Downtown Vicksburg by restoring many of the historic buildings and bringing in smart, fun and economically sustainable businesses to the historic downtown. Once again, Chris is functioning as a catalyst and fostering concord, organizing a collaboration between government entities and local stakeholders to make The Mill at Vicksburg a regional destination and an economic engine to drive his hometown’s economy for another century.