“We met with Northern Initiatives, which is known for working with small businesses and being a valuable development partner. They liked our idea and agreed to partner with us.”
– David Kronberg, owner of Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee
Chocolate and coffee are popular on their own, but they are often paired together to enhance their unique flavor profiles. This winning combination is reflected in the name and focus of a new business in Munising that promotes “good treats for a good life.” Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee opened in June and recently completed its first season. Owners David and Mary Kronberg report it was a great summer and a valuable learning experience. They were pleased with the warm reception from the local business community and the positive responses from customers who stopped by the shop from around the world.
Timing and opportunity—another winning combination—proved to be the catalyst for the Kronbergs’ decision to venture beyond their professional comfort zones and into the retail realm. Through their separate business designing and installing museum exhibits, they were hired to assist with the Pictured Rocks Interpretive Center in the remodeled 1890s sandstone State Bank building. The Kronbergs had been plotting their return to the Upper Peninsula after moving downstate several years ago. When they discovered there was vacant commercial space in the building’s lower level facing Lake Superior and along a tourist pedestrian route, they started a new business to occupy the space and target that niche.
“We heard Munising’s tourism industry was on fire,” David said. “A lot of that is driven by increased awareness and popularity of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the boat cruises. It’s like the veil has been lifted and people are just discovering this extraordinary place. We thought we would take a chance and use the tried-and-true business model for candy and coffee that’s been so successful on Mackinac Island. We met with Northern Initiatives, which is known for working with small businesses and being a valuable development partner. They liked our idea and agreed to partner with us.”
Northern Initiatives helped the couple secure a loan for start-up working capital and provided business services to assist with Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee’s online presence, website development and acclimation to QuickBooks accounting software. David said NI also offered onsite consultation related to retail layout, displays and branding.
The business offers a rotation of up to 24 different fudge varieties and other handmade treats ranging from toffee and chocolate-dipped pretzels to almond bark and peanut butter cups. Organic, fair-trade coffees complement the sweets and are also served at the local Tracey’s restaurant. For those who want a healthier energy boost for backpacking and kayaking, there are snack mixes of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. All of the products come in distinctive Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee packaging. They also carry regional names, such as the coffees Grand Island Mystery, Don’t Rock the Boat, Hurricane River Refresh and Pictured Rocks Roast.
The Kronbergs did plenty of research on their business model, not to mention quality control: “We got to taste a lot of fudge!” David said with a laugh. “It was a ton of work, but now we can catch our breath and reflect on what we’ve created and accomplished.”
Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee is a seasonal business. To purchase products during the off-season, please visit their page on Amazon.
Pictured Rocks Fudge and Coffee Impacts