After more than 100 years of serving residents and visitors of downtown Grand Haven, the third generation of the Fortino family — Margie and Ken Michlitsch — have decided to retire.
The couple bought Fortino’s in 1976. According to Margie, members of the fourth generation of her family aren’t able to step up and take over the business due to their own commitments.
Walking through the store’s vintage, creaky screen door is like taking a step back in time. The aroma of peanuts and chocolate, mixed with the tight spaces, make the store unique.
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.
With the family planning to get out of the business, it leaves a potential empty hole in our downtown that will be tough to replace. Countless people have come to visit Grand Haven, and one of the common places they frequent is Fortino’s.
Looking for a unique wine? Head to Fortino’s. Looking for a hard-to-find candy or food? Fortino’s is your place.
It will be hard to imagine the downtown area without the window filled with peanuts, the red storefront and “Fortino’s” spelled out across the top.
It’s been a community icon for many years, and it’d be nice if a new owner could come forward to continue the Fortino family legacy.
While the Michlitsches set sail for retirement, we’d hate to see the business their family worked hard to create become a shell of its former self — or, worse yet, a vacant storefront.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty, Fred VandenBrand and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.