Mike and Debbie Sholin have returned to Mike’s roots in Mendocino County, but their family had lots of adventures on the way. “My grandmother had a little cottage in Albion, and when I first visited, I was 4 years old,” Mike says. “Twenty-five years later, Debbie and I were married in the town of Mendocino.”
Their careers had taken them to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, so the Sholins decided to try something new with their two young children. “For a month we traveled in Indonesia and Thailand, and it was clear that our kids, like us, loved to travel. So a year later, we put everything we owned into storage, leased our house, and took off for a year.”
After spending a month each in Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, they traveled across the United States, visiting family and friends, “We ended our trip in Virginia, and we were supposed to move back to Lafayette, California,” Mike recalls. “But when we had originally planned our trip, we thought that we would eventually want to change from city living to a slower pace of life. After our trip was over, we knew it was time to make a change and that Mendocino County was the place.”
For three years, Mike worked for Rising Tide Sea Vegetables in Mendocino before deciding to buy his own business. A mutual friend mentioned that Devora Rossman, founder of Mendocino Mustard, was nearing retirement and might be interested in selling her business.
Devora Rossman started Mendocino Mustard in 1977 on a shoestring, and built its reputation with numerous awards and a faithful following of fans. “I was already a huge fan of Mendocino Mustard’s products,” Mike says. “So this was a chance to be part of something I love. Devora’s happy about the sale, too, because she wanted to sell her company to someone who would live locally and continue its history and integrity.”
Soon, Mike’s wife Debbie will be joining him in the running the day-to-day operations, making it a true family business. “She is incredibly driven, organized, and has strong people skills. I know we will make a great team,” Mike says with pleasure. “We’ve been a couple for twenty years, have traveled together on a budget, and are bringing up two children. In my mind, those are pretty good indicators of how well we will work together, spreading the good word about Mendocino Mustard”
“I have wonderful childhood memories of fishing for salmon, diving for abalone, and riding my little Honda 50 down the Big River haul road. We appreciate the opportunity to live and work here and to raise our children in this community. We are a local family invested, emotionally and financially, in a well-loved, local product.”