A street-savvy businessman, Victor Callewaert, is the patriarch of the Callewaert family. Beginning as a business partner with his father-in-law, Harry Ryba, and brother-in-law James, Victor played a pivotal role in restoring Island House Hotel to make it the shining Mackinac Island landmark that it is today. Victor began his dynasty in a popcorn and confectionery store in Detroit with Harry Ryba in 1951. By 1956 they had entered the fudge business, calling their product that we know and love still today as Ryba's Mackinac Island Fudge. Victor and his partners saved the once-abandoned Island House Hotel from demolition in 1969. As General Manager of Island House Hotel, Victor played a crucial role in restoring and preserving the Island House Hotel. While his son Todd has stepped into many of Victor's earlier responsibilities, Victor remains at the helm of the Callewaert family businesses. Outside of work, it is not unusual to find him dining with family in the 1852 Grill Room or visiting with friends at Mary’s Bistro Draught House. Victor married his high school sweetheart, the late Rena Ryba, and they had five children together, Todd, Ann, Mary, Greg & Amy.
Mary, Victor's oldest daughter, can be found overseeing the downtown operations for the Callewaert family businesses. From housekeeper to dining room manager to bike shop attendant to server, Mary has done it all. Throughout the year, she stays busy within the company, traveling to Detroit and Chicago, where she is in charge of Ryba's fudge sales at various festivals and shows. Mary, along with the rest of her family, fell in love with Mackinac Island many years ago. She gives back to the Island by serving as Resident Park Commissioner, whose primary goal is to conserve Mackinac's historical parks and sites. Mary is a driven businesswoman. She spends most of her time overseeing the operations of Mary's Bistro Draught House.
Our guest service-driven leader, Todd Callewaert, acts as the CEO of Island House Hotel and restaurants. He has a lifetime of experience in the service industry in a variety of responsibilities, working as a dishwasher, busboy, waiter, and later a confectionery artist in the family fudge shops. In the late 1980s, with the knowledge he had gained from his many roles over the years, he made his move to hotel administration and began working beside his father, Victor. Proud alumni of Central Michigan University, Todd has held leadership roles with the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association and Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. He is active in the day-to-day operations of the Island House Hotel during the May to October season and is visible to employees and guests alike. Todd enjoys working beside his wife Jennifer and sons, William and Andrew, each involved throughout the family businesses. Todd is a proud leader of this beautiful historic hotel and its employees.
Ann Parrish, Victor’s youngest daughter, works behind the scenes as the Controller for Rena’s Fudge Shops, The Island House, and the other various businesses owned by the Callewaert family. Before graduating from the University of Michigan, Ann held a variety of jobs in the company, including Pancake House server, Ryba’s Fudge sales associate, Island House Reservations Manager, as well as Front Office Manager. As a current board member of the Mackinac Associates, Ann is involved in helping raise funds that support programs for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. She is happily married to her longtime love, Les Parrish, who is in charge of the confectionery production at Ryba’s Fudge. They have two children together, Riley and Lilly, who both spend their summers working in the family business as well.
General Manager, Alan Sehoyan joined the Island House Hotel team in 2016. Alan was introduced to the hospitality industry as a teenager at his father's high-end salon and spa in his hometown, Grosse Pointe, Michigan. In 1996, he joined the Peace Corps, where he helped build and create an eco-tourism lodge in Papua New Guinea. When he returned to the states, he answered an ad for a window washer at the Bay Harbor Village Hotel in Petoskey, Michigan. Alan noticed this hotel was missing an essential amenity; concierge service. They hired him not as a window washer, but as the concierge. His hard work, dedication, and creativity earned him the role of General Manager just three years later. It was here that he met his wife, Allison. Together they moved to Mackinac Island, where they live year-round with their two children.
Since 2013, Executive Chef Phil Kromer has been handcrafting signature dishes in our prized dining room, the 1852 Grill Room. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America of Hyde Park, New York, he has a passion for how food affects people. Chef Phil has worked in a diverse range of restaurant atmospheres, such as fine dining, breweries, barbecue joints, large resorts, and finally, the small-town breakfast restaurant where he fell in love with the kitchen. From May through October, he arrives early each morning to prepare breakfast, and in the evening, he checks each dinner entree as they leave the kitchen, ensuring that they are consistently perfect. His attention to detail has gained him the respect of many coworkers, locals, and guests. Chef Phil met his wife, Megan, while working at Hotel Iroquois in the early 1990s. Married in 2000, they have two boys together, and they reside on Mackinac Island year-round.
Les Parrish is the chief confectioner at Ryba’s Fudge. He grew up in East Lansing, spending summers in northern Michigan and working on Mackinac Island. After meeting his wife, he joined the family business and learned how to make fudge. He now oversees all of the candy production for Ryba’s Fudge Shops.