Fortino’s sale sad; we hope someone takes on tradition

News recently broke that the owners of Fortino’s are getting out of the family business.
Jul 30, 2014


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 or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Let's put in a Subway Shop! They got some good subs!

Barry Soetoro

And healthy, too! Don't forget good ol' Jared lost 250 lbs pounding meatball hoagies from Subway!


It will never be same so, say goodbye !!!!


There is a nice size apartment over the store that was occupied back in the late sixties and early seventies by friends of mine. We would sit up there and could smell when the peanuts were being roasted, walk down the stairs, and receive our gratuitous bag while still "hot". We would climb the stairs in anxious anticipation for as they cooled and became just warm; they were a delight with seriously cold beer. I think of those days every time I walk in the store, or even pass by it for that matter. During Coast Guard week we could see everything going on from the windows and all while enjoying one of the finest treats known to man, or woman too.


Well, get ready to smell some fresh baked Subway bread!


Nope Bee, they will make it in to a novelty shop stuff imported from Japan, no Subway


This is sad - it would be wonderful if someone could continue this business as a Grand Haven tradition. I have both received and given many gifts from Fortino's - everything seemed a little bit more special and delicious with a Fortino's sticker on it.


How about a Spencer Gifts? Never know when you might need a boob toothbrush.


Me too !!


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