New La Vie owner goes from building to baking

By Ryan Wynne

In the past year, an average of 72,000 construction jobs have disappeared each month nationwide. That has led those in the industry across the nation to explore other options. Jeffrey Holtzman, an ex-general contractor from Southern California, said with general contracting business all but non-existent, he decided to go a very different route.

“I was in a position where I had to reinvent myself,” Holtzman said.

That perspective prompted Holtzman to go out on a limb: he bought a bakery. He was in Bellingham last November visiting family and looking for work when he came across a Bellingham bakery listed for sale on Craigslist. Holtzman, who said he answered that ad on a whim, is now the owner of La Vie en Rose located at 111 W. Holly St. in Bellingham.

Holtzman bought La Vie en Rose April 1 and hasn’t slowed down since. He is working 12 to 14 hour days and said he is constantly looking to improve the bakery by giving customers more of what they want.

Firstly he is expanding the menu. There will be more deli salads, an introduction of baguettes, and challa on Fridays. Customers will also soon find weekly specials at the downtown bakery.

He will also expand the hours of operation. Beginning with the Downtown Art Walk in May, on the first Friday of the month, the bakery will stay open until 9 p.m. and serve hors d’oeuvres and slices of cake in addition to regular menu items. From that point forward, Holtzman said the business will try to be open Friday and Saturday evenings regularly until 9 p.m. But, he said, nothing is set in stone and if people want to stay later, he will stay open later.

He is also expanding the drink selection to include adult beverages. An application to serve beer and wine at La Vie en Rose was processed April 22. Holtzman said the public will be invited to help select wine and beer for the menu ― he will hold tastings at the bakery as soon as the liquor license is approved.

Holtzman is diving into the bakery business with enthusiasm. Owning a restaurant has been a dream of his since he was in his 20s, he said. While not quite a restaurant, Holtzman said the bakery is giving him the opportunity to do something that makes him happy.

“When I cook for somebody it’s like therapy to me,” Holtzman said.

Holtzman is cooking up changes at La Vie en Rose that he hopes will send some happiness back to customers. And providing the public with more free samples of tasty pastries is another change that can’t hurt his mission.

For more information, call La Vie en Rose at (360) 715-1839 or visit www.laviebakery.com.

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