Our Joann’s Fudge family is celebrating 50 fabulous years! In 1969, Frank Nephew realized his lifelong dream of starting his own business when he opened the first ever Joann’s Fudge. Despite some trepidation from his wife Joan, a second Joann’s Fudge was opened in an historic building in the center of town only one year later – and in 1980, they added a third location in Mackinaw City.
Frank and Joan moved to Mackinac Island with their three daughters in 1966 to manage a restaurant called the Ye Olde Pickle Barrel. A few years later, when Ray and Mary Summerfield decided to sell their fudge store named Suzanne’s Fudge, Frank scraped and borrowed his way to his first real estate purchase on the Island. He named the fudge store “Joann’s” in honor of his beloved Joan. In true entrepreneurial fashion, the family moved to an apartment attached to the back of the building aptly nicknamed “Fudge Alley”.
At Joann’s, we’ve celebrated many milestones, successes, and hardships together. Since that first store opened, all three daughters got married and seven grandchildren were born – who now range in age from 16 to 33. Every family member, including the third generation, has at one point worked in the fudge stores.
In 2018, Frank and Joan both passed away four months apart. Frank and Joan had been actively involved in the business since the inception, but for the last 20 years, their daughter Nancy has been the general manager. Joann’s Fudge has served the best fudge on Mackinac Island since Frank and Joan opened that first store in 1969. As a 50-year family owned fudge store, we take great pride in every detail, from the quality of our products to our great customer service. We proudly continue the tradition of excellence started by Frank and Joan 50 years ago and strive to honor their legacy by always delivering a product that would make them proud.