Zehnder's of Frankenmuth famous neon sign, erected in 1936

About Zehnder's Marketplace

The History of Zehnder's of Frankenmuth

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth started as a small family restaurant known for its chicken dinners and famous neon sign (right) and has grown over the years to become the world's largest family restaurant (with over 1,500 capacity seating), an award-winning Bakery and marketplace, 18-hole championship golf course (The Fortress) and a 20,000 square foot hotel and waterpark (Zehnder's Splash Village) in Frankenmuth, Michigan.

Ermie Bowsie Nuechterlein The History of Zehnder's Retail

Zehnder's 1948 addition to the north improved and added additional dining space, a gift shop, bar, restrooms, coat check, lobby and kitchen facilities.
Herman Zehnder proposed the idea of selling souvenirs in a new, small gift shop. Sensing an opportunity, the family charged Ermia "Bowsie" (pictured far left) with the challenge. They couldn't have made a better choice. "Bowsie", as she was known by everyone, was a born salesperson.
Bowsie took the challenge and built that small gift shop into a multi-million dollar retail business at Zehnder's.

The flooding of Main Street from the Cass River in Frankemuth, MI
Zehnder's pre-1948, flooding from the Cass River
In the small town of Frankenmuth, it was not unusual that Main Street of Frankenmuth was impassable due to the spring flooding of the Cass River. By 1948, the governments of Frankenmuth Township and the Village of Frankenmuth agreed on a plan to build a dike at a cost of $25,205. Zehnder's agreed to pay one quarter of the cost. By 1961, the initial project was complete. The completion of the dike allowed for meaningful expansion of business within the floodplain including Zehnder's lower level where all of the retail shops are now located.
Zehnder's Award Winning Bakery In 1984, Zehnder's invested over $1 million in bakery equipment and expanded the retail baked good line and retail sales area. In 1986, Bakery Magazine recognized Zehnder's Bakery as the nations top retail bakery and continues to win awards today.
Pictured left to right: Al Zehnder, current C.E.O. of Zehnder's, Eddie Zehnder (former C.E.O.), Marion Zehnder (Eddie's wife) and Bill Parlberg (current President & C.O.O.).
Zehnder's Mail Order - Online Marketplace After a growing demand for Zehnder's quality bakery products, Zehnder's Online Marketplace was established in 2005 to reach households throughout the U.S. and bring Zehnder's home to our guests.
Now Zehnder's fans can enjoy Zehnder's homestyle specialties wherever they live!

For more information on Zehnder's history, visit our History page or visit our History Wall located in Zehnder's Restaurant, 730 S. Main St., Frankenmuth, MI, 48734.

Need help? Contact our Customer Service Team at 989-652-0480. Or email us at mailorder@zehnders.com

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth