Longtime Bellingham business owners ready for a change

Owner of Bellingham juice shop talks about what's next for her after she sells her business

Abbe Rolnick, owner of Robeks Juice and Smoothies, talks about her time with the business and what she plans to do after she sells it on Wednesday, June 21, in Bellingham.
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Abbe Rolnick, owner of Robeks Juice and Smoothies, talks about her time with the business and what she plans to do after she sells it on Wednesday, June 21, in Bellingham.

Abbe Rolnick is ready for the next cycle of life.

Rolnick has decided to put the Robeks store in the Barkley district up for sale. The fresh juice and smoothie franchise was opened by Rolnick at 3110 Woburn St. in 2005. It’s a business that survived the ups and downs of the economy, and she’s ready to pass some of that knowledge along to someone else.

Looking back at the years of running Robeks has taught Rolnick plenty. She opened at a time when the Barkley district was growing, learning to adjust while all the construction was going on around her business. She opened a second store in the Sehome Shopping Center in 2006, but learned she was spreading herself too thin – she eventually closed that spot. The Barkley location weathered the Great Recession around 2008 with the help of a loyal customer base.

“Robeks is like the ‘Cheers’ of the community, where people come in every day and we learn how they are thriving,” Rolnick said. “(Watching others thrive) keeps us all going.”

Thriving is a key concept for Rolnick and applied it to Robeks, even during the tough times. Her current husband, Jim Wiggins, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, taking her away from the store more often. She learned to put more trust in her employees, particularly her manager, and the business thrived as a result, she said. Her husband is now cancer-free.

Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

In recent years she has discovered other pursuits. She now lives on 20 acres of property in Skagit County and has found joy writing books. Her experience with her husband’s cancer inspired one of her books, “Cocoon of Cancer: An Invitation to Love Deeply.”

The business is listed with an asking price of $299,000. Further details about the corporation can be found on its website.


After 12 years of business in downtown Bellingham, Michelle Bouma has decided to make a life change by closing her businesses.

Bouma will be closing Mi Shoes, which she opened in 2005, and Heroine Clothing, which she opened in 2015. She plans on having a liquidation on July 1 through the end of the month. She also recently closed the Mi Shoes store in Lynden.

In a letter to employees, friends and family, Bouma said she loves Bellingham and plans on staying here, but needs a change.

“I have always valued freedom, happiness, simplicity, independence and building meaningful connections by empowering the women around me,” Bouma said in the letter. “In order to remain authentic to myself and my family, I’ve come to realize that this change is necessary for my personal growth.”

Mi Shoes is at 1315 Railroad Ave., while Heroine Clothing is at 1328 Commercial St. Details about the businesses can be found at the Mi Shoes website.


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