Fortino's up for sale

Things may soon change for a family-owned-and-operated business that’s been in downtown Grand Haven for 107 years.
Alex Doty
Jul 15, 2014


The owners of Fortino’s, 114 Washington Ave., say they are ready to retire. In doing so, they’ve put their family business and building up for sale.

“It’s going to be hard to let go,” owner Margie Michlitsch said. “It is our whole heritage. … We wanted to announce it now because we have so many dedicated summer tourists.”

Margie — a third-generation member of the Fortino family — and her husband, Ken, bought Fortino’s in 1976.  Margie said members of the fourth generation of her family aren’t able to step up and take over the business due to their own commitments.

“Our children are fully established in their own careers,” she said. “We’re moving ahead.”

The iconic store began as the Louis Fortino Fruit Co. in 1907 and grew from there. Over the years, it has offered everything from liquor, chocolate and peanuts, to wines and candy.

“It has been an amazing thing for all of us,” Margie said. “The day has come, but it’s a sad day. Sooner or later, it does come.”

Instead of selling specialty items to residents and tourists, the Michlitsches will instead take time for themselves. Margie said running the store has made it difficult to visit relatives or take a vacation.

“I think we’re going to travel a lot,” Margie said. “We really want to go and attend all of (our grandchildren’s) events.”

Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Diane Larkin  said it’s disappointing to hear the news, but noted that she respects the family’s decision.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



I would love to step in and Jazz up Fortino's a bit.


i think they've been phoning it for a while...had service issues in there...that being said I'm not looking forward to a bank or dentist replacing the storefront. Diane Larkin better step up.

Leslie Sotala

Love walking in the back door, down the hall, and inhaling the aroma of peanuts, chocolate, and time. Thanks for being there all these years.


I have known members o the Fortino family for nearly 60 years and it saddens me to see the store pass. The last thing it needs is to be "jazzed up". It represents one of the last vestiges of what a lot of storefronts were in Grand Haven 80 to 100 years ago. I hope whoever buys the store will keep up the tradition, it's the only place in town you can buy many things, like seafoam!


Yes this is a great store. But, you can't do wrong with a little Jazzing up here and there.


Gonna miss the salted shelled peanuts, beer cheese and that last bottle of red when Randy says, "Just run across the street and get another bottle of red." Not to mention the unique candies I picked up all these years for my kids stockings, even though they aren't kids anymore!


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.