[PHOTOS] FRANKENMUTH MI – May 2, 2018 – The Michigan Small Business Administration announced that the 2018 Michigan Small Business Person (SBA) of the Year is Al Zehnder, Chairman and CEO, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth. The Bavarian-theme town of Frankenmuth is 90 miles north of Detroit and one of the state’s top tourist destinations with more than 3 million visitors each year and home of the iconic Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth restaurant serving family-style chicken dinners since 1928.
Zehnder, who joined the family business in 1976, fulfills the criteria for the SBA Michigan Small Business person of the year by developing an outstanding, growing business and innovative products; increasing jobs and sales/unit volume; responsive to adversity and supporting community projects. As chairman and CEO, Al Zehnder provides strategic planning and leadership for the family business, now in its fourth generation. Zehnder’s serves as a community partner in the development and expansion of tourism for the town of Frankenmuth. He also serves as Vice President of the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority; Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Northwood University where he was recognized nationally as one of Northwood University’s Outstanding Business Leaders for 2004. In 2007, Northwood University recognized him with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree. He is a current board member of Huntington Bank-Great Lakes Bay Region.
On a national scale, Zehnder’s is recognized as one the top 25 independent restaurants in the nation in sales by Restaurant Business Magazine. Zehnder’s Splash Village and Waterpark was ranked this year as one of the 30 Top Indoor Water Parks around the World by U.S. News & World Report and has been recognized for the second time as a winner in the Hotels for Families category of the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards, ranking number 19 out of 25 in the nation. In addition to its 1,500 seat restaurant, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth owns and operates Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark, Zehnder’s retail marketplace, and the 18-hole championship golf course, The Fortress.