Rainbow Blossom shared the news of the passing of Rob Auerbach, who founded the store in 1977 with his wife Pumpkin. He was born on March 28, 1952, and passed away peacefully on May 7, 2024, on his farm in Kentucky surrounded by his wife and daughters.

In a tribute on social media, the company remembered Rob as an adventurous soul who explored the world and lived life to the fullest. "Rob was known for his intuitive business sense, good humor, and love for life. He leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary accomplishments and unbelievable stories...Rob was always a free spirit who fearlessly pursued his passions, embracing every opportunity with enthusiasm and determination. He was a captivating storyteller and lived a life that provided ample material."

rainbow-blossom-retailer-of-the-year-2019-1.jpgRob, Summer, and Pumpkin Auerbach of Rainbow Blossom WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 Retail of the Year.Rob's legacy and lasting impact on both the Louisville community and the natural products industry is showcased in WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 Retailer of the Year feature, which outlines the company's history, starting when Rob and Pumpkin Auerbach were young trailblazers, ready to make a difference.

In 1977, the couple established Louisville’s original health food store with a dream of bringing vegetarian offerings to an area that wasn’t exactly a hotspot of the natural foods movement. As their daughter Summer, who now manages Rainbow Blossom,
shared in the article: “They spent time in these different cities where the natural food movement had already taken root, and when they went back to Louisville they saw an opportunity. They were vegetarians, and there were not that many options for them. As consumers, they really wished they had opportunities to get that natural food.” And so, in 1977, Rob and Pumpkin opened their first location...today, there are five market locations (in Kentucky and Indiana), and a sixth location is coming soon.

Remembering a natural foods trailblazer

Friends, family, loyal customers, and industry members will remember Rob for his generosity, loyalty, and warmth, and many shared their memories on social media. One customer wrote: "I am grateful to him and the family for opening their doors to the community, and to me, to walk through and be forever changed." Another shared, "I always loved seeing Rob at Rainbow. He always shared his warmth, humor and wisdom. When I was starting my business, he shared so many helpful tips. Such a treasure with an endless legacy."

Heather Wainer, WholeFoods Magazine Publisher and VP of Media shared, "All of us at WholeFoods Magazine are so sorry to hear of Rob's passing. We loved learning about the family’s story, and know Summer is carrying on Rob's legacy. Our condolences."

Rainbow Blossom shared that Rob is preceded in death by his parents, Minx Mansbach Auerbach and Dr S.P. “Sy” Auerbach. He is survived by his wife Pumpkin Auerbach; two children, Summer Auerbach (S. Brandon Coan) and Star Auerbach (Aaron Lubrick); four grandchildren, Noah Auerbach, Levi Lubrick, Elijah Lubrick, and Simon Coan; his siblings Keith Auerbach (Lynn Walker), Penny Auerbach Friedberg (Jean); and his many “Mahuttens”.

A celebration of Rob's life is being held on May 10, 2024, in Louisville (details here). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Olmsted Parks Conservancy, in honor of Rob's commitment to the community.

Remembering industry leaders