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My Town Grand Haven: New owner of Fortino's shares plans for mainstay | Business

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My Town Grand Haven: New owner of Fortino's shares plans for mainstay
My Town Grand Haven: New owner of Fortino's shares plans for mainstay

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.—A community cornerstone that’s been in business for more than a century has a new owner.

Dave Ten Cate with Capstone Real Estate says the deal for Fortino’s closed Tuesday.  Kelly Larson is buying the store, which is a popular destination for children looking for candy.  Larson already owns a couple of candy and ice cream stores in the area, including Sweet Temptations in Grand Haven.  She tells Ten Cate she intends to keep Fortino’s as it is; even the store’s name will remain untouched. 

Three generations of Fortinos owned and operated the downtown store for more than 107 years, making it one of the oldest family businesses in Grand Haven.  Former owner Ken Michlitsch said the shop came into his family by way of his wife’s grandfather.

“[He] walked into a small store. He started talking to the owner; the guy said the business was bad. He said, 'For $25 I'd sell it.' He handed him the money; the guy handed him the keys and went back to Italy."

When Michlitsch and his wife retired earlier this year, there was no one left in the family to take over the shop. Michlitsch said all four of his kids worked at Fortino’s when they were growing up. Now, they all have successful engineering careers -- and while Michlitsch said all of them wanted the business to stay in the family, each of his kids wanted one of their siblings to be the one to take it over.

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