Home in the nick of time | TheUnion.com

Home in the nick of time

John HartMike Roberts relaxes at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters in Grass Valley.
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A year ago, Mike Roberts was likely to spend hours on the road in the New York City area as a sales representative for a bicycle company.

But last summer, Roberts, a Nevada Union High School graduate, and his wife, Shelley, decided to move back west, in part to be closer to their families. Shelley Roberts, a marketing manager, is originally from Portland, Ore.

These days, Mike spends more time at home at Lake of the Pines and is likely to run into his mom at the post office.

He likes it that way.

“We came home,” he said at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, the coffee shop he and Shelley own in the Glenbrook Basin. “And it feels good to be home.”

A coffee-table book on the Gold Country – a gift from Mike’s mom – inspired them to make the move last summer, said the Robertses, both 36.

They were at home near New York last July, flipping through the book, when they suddenly wondered “What are we doing here?” The humidity outside that day was awful, Shelley recalled.

Mike’s mother, Betty Robinson; his stepfather, Beryl Robinson, Nevada City’s longtime city manager; as well as two of Mike’s four sisters, all live in Nevada County, and the Robertses wanted to be closer to them.

“We were so far away,” Shelley said.

Within weeks, they left their jobs and drove cross-country with daughters Meagan, 11, and Mackenzie, 9 months. They arrived in California Sept. 4.

Mike left western Nevada County to enter the U.S. Navy soon after his 1984 high school graduation.

After five years in the Navy, including two tours on the USS Enterprise, he left the military and became a professional bike racer, competing nationally.

After retiring from bicycle racing in the early 1990s, Mike entered the bagel business; he and several partners opened a bagel shop in southern Vermont.

A year later, he sold his share in the business and moved to the New York area to work for the bicycle industry, where he met his future wife. They settled in Westchester County near New York.

The Robertses bought Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters on Maltman Drive on Nov. 1, where they share the space with Tomes, a used bookstore owned by Eric Tomb.

Mike roasts the coffee beans, and both he and Shelley make daily deliveries to clients. Shelley does all the accounting, marketing and advertising.

And Mike’s mom is happy.

“It was like a dream come true,” said Betty Robinson on Thursday, as she baby-sat her youngest grandchild.

Each week, The Union profiles one of your friends or neighbors. It might be the supermarket checker, the beer truck driver, or the fellow down the street with the green thumb. If you have ideas on someone you would like to read about, just give the newsroom a call at 273-9561.

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