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Madison Loses Beloved Local Business Owner Burnell Franke on His 100th Birthday July 06, 2023 (0 comments)


Madison, WI--Burnell "Burnie" Franke, the renowned local business owner behind Burnie’s Rock Shop, passed away on his 100th birthday, June 29. Franke, known for his love of earth science, started the jewelry and gem store in 1962 and created a strong following in Madison.

[Image via WMTV]

According to a WMTV report, recalling his father's journey, Nevin Franke, Burnie’s son, and the shop's current owner, said, “When he found his first couple of pieces, that was it. He was hooked right then and there.” Nevin praised his father's generous spirit and commitment to sharing his hobby.

The report noted that Burnie’s Rock Shop on East Johnson Street had been a staple in the Madison community for decades. The business later expanded, opening another location on Park Street. Nevin took over the business from Burnie in 1999.

“He’s extremely likable. Like I say, that’s the key to the business still being here so long is people gravitating toward him,” said Nevin, as per the report. Burnie, known for his trademark bolo tie and vibrant personality, was remembered by many customers and employees. "With a guy like Burnie, that’s the thing that made this place click originally," said Ben Kartz, a shop employee, as per the report.

In the report, Kartz paid tribute to Burnie’s unique energy, stating, "There’s a certain kind of people who have a glow and magnetic energy about them, and he’s one of those people. His impact, whether he tried or not, is pretty profound." Nevin added, sharing a fond laugh, "I have never tried to be as likable as him because I figured it’s almost impossible."

Learn more in the entire WMTV report.

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