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.
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