Bud Herholz - Candy maker
It was 1975, and Bud Herholz, a student at Ferris State University, was looking for a summer job. Coincidentally, Dean Marshall, his accounting professor, needed summer help for his fudge and candy store in Mackinaw City. And the rest became history ... literally. “It wasn’t supposed to last this long,” Bud mused, of the 48 summers that have come and gone since. Maybe it’s because Bud has such a sweet job – making fresh fudge in small, artisanal batches in a quaint candy shop with the Straits of Mackinac as backdrop. You can just feel the nostalgia – complete with copper kettles and marble tables. Marshall’s regularly stirs up some 25 fudge flavors in those copper kettles, along with limited-edition seasonal favorites, like Fresh Strawberry in summer and Chocolate Rum at Christmas. “Depending on the season, a typical day can vary from eight or up to 20 batches of fudge,” said Bud, adding that each batch weighs in at around 35 pounds.
Along with perfecting the art of fudge making, Bud has mad skills at many of the other hand-crafted, preservative-free confections sold at Marshall’s Fudge, to include caramels, caramel corn, peanut brittle, divinity, and Marshall’s famous gourmet caramel apples. But his favorite candy to make will always be fudge, the craft that patriarch Dean Marshall – the true “candy man” – taught him that very first summer. Even the fudge maker has favorites, and Bud’s are Vanilla Black Walnut and Penuche. When asked how a summer job slipped into a lifetime career, Bud pointed to the people he’s met and worked with over the years, especially the Marshall family. “I just like the feeling of working here. Candy makes people happy.”
Stacy Santer - Chocolatier (The Chocolate Lady)
Life couldn’t be sweeter for chocolatier Stacy Santer, who spends her days hand-crafting gourmet truffles and enough chocolate treats to make Willy Wonka jealous – from peanut butter cups and chocolate bark to caramel “puddles” and chocolate roses. “I was just 10 years old when my grandmother taught me how to coat my first piece of chocolate,” remembers Stacy, the resident Chocolate Lady around Marshall’s Fudge.
Her grandmother learned the business from Katy Kilwin, the founder of Kilwin’s Chocolates. In 1990, at age 50, her grandmother opened her own shop, The Chocolate Hut, based out of her garage, crafting her chocolate confections and selling them to candy shops all over Michigan. Stacy planned to take over The Chocolate Hut from her mom, who had taken over from her grandmother. Life had other plans, and she was suddenly the single mother of two very young boys. But fate worked its magic and, in 2011, The Chocolate Hut was sold to Marshall’s Fudge, and Stacy was hired as chocolatier.
Stacy notes that a third-generation chocolatier working for a third-generation fudge company just feels right. “Things have come full circle,” she says of her life in the chocolate business. “I am now making chocolates for a candy store in Mackinaw City, keeping the legacy of my grandmother and my mother alive.” Stacy has fond memories of her grandmother, who passed in 2020. “I miss her every day, but I so appreciate my time with her. She taught me so much about chocolate, and about life.”
Chloe Keil - Sales Associate
As the resident “newbie” and self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades at Marshall’s, Chloe Keil describes her job as “anything and everything,” from making candy to packaging mail orders and assisting customers.
Joining Marshall’s in October 2022, Chloe is still new to the many different candy making processes. “It’s exciting to learn how everything is made, and the 100-year history behind it,” she said. “Plus I’m being taught by the best – Bud, fudge maker extraordinaire; Stacy, our in-house chocolatier; and Marshall’s owners, Pat and Daisy.”
Chloe noted that Marshall’s doesn’t feel like a typical job. “Being in such an uplifting environment is my favorite part about working at Marshall’s,” she explained. “Everyone is so kind, grateful, and happy to be there. And they accept and almost encourage my love for Harry Styles,” she joked.
In addition to Harry, Chloe holds a special place for Sixlets chocolatey candies, a childhood favorite. “I will never stop loving them,” she said, “but now I have a soft spot for Stacy’s hand-crafted Peanut Butter Dreams.” Which may even give Harry a run for his money.