Published in Breaking News

MiBiz Growth Report: Oct. 1, 2018

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, September 30, 2018 07:51pm

MiBiz Growth Report: Oct. 1, 2018

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 1, 2018.


  • The ownership group of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers’ Class-A affiliate in Comstock Park, has acquired the independent Traverse City Beach Bums and Wuerfel Park in Blair Township. According to a statement, Traverse City will play as a Northwoods League affiliate for West Michigan starting in May 2019. Other teams in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer wooden-bat baseball league comprised of 22 teams, include the Battle Creek Bombers and the Kalamazoo Growlers. The Traverse City team will no longer be called the Beach Bums, as the new management has proposed a public contest through Oct. 15 to rename the team. Whitecaps CEO Joe Chamberlin will handle operations of the Beach Bums, which was previously owned by the Traverse City-based Wuerfel Sports Development LLC.  
  • Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) is acquiring the outstanding stock of U.K.-based Orangebox Group Limited for the equivalent of $79 million. Orangebox, which makes alternatives to traditional seating and architectural privacy pods, employs more than 450 people and generated about $90 million in revenues over a 12-month period through August. For Steelcase, the deal provides more lines of “unique furniture designed to boost collaboration at work,” according to a statement. Orangebox had its roots within Steelcase. Founders Pete Hurley and Mino Vernaschi led a management buyout of a Steelcase manufacturing operation that also produced various products under license for Swiss furniture maker Giroflex, according to the company’s website. Orangebox also later acquired Giroflex’s U.K. portfolio.
  • Grand Rapids-based Guardsman USA LLC, a provider of furniture protection plans and furniture care and repair products and services, has been acquired by the warranty and specialty risk firm Amynta Group of New York, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Prior to the acquisition, Guardsman operated as a division of The Valspar Corp., a Minneapolis, Minn.-based manufacturer of paint and coatings, which was acquired by painting and coating manufacturer Sherwin-Williams Co. in 2017. Guardsman employs more than 200 people across its global footprint.
  • Traverse City-based Electro-Optics Technology Inc., a manufacturer of equipment for high-power laser systems, has acquired Germany-based Forschungsinstitut für mineralische und metallische Werkstoffe - Edelsteine/Edelmetalle - GmbH, known as FEE, a research institute and manufacturer of laser crystals. The company will become a subsidiary of Electro-Optics Technology and do business as FEE GmbH. FEE supplies optical crystals used in advanced laser systems for welding and cutting in the automotive, medical device and other industries. The company was 75-percent owned by the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which sought to sell it off and position it to better compete in the marketplace, according to reports in Rhein-Zeitung, a German newspaper. Electro-Optics, which manufactures optical components and diagnostic equipment for use in high-power lasers, said the deal will enhance its offerings to laser manufacturers with complementary technology and products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Livermore, Calif.-based SolarBOS Inc., which established a manufacturing plant in the Grand Rapids suburb of Walker in 2014, has been acquired by Cincinnati-based RBI Solar Inc., according to a statement. SolarBOS manufactures “balance of system” (BOS) components, which are used to manage power between a solar photovoltaic (PV) array and the power grid for a building or a utility. RBI supplies mounting solutions for solar installations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


  • Grand Rapids-based Brewery Vivant plans to open a satellite facility at 2885 Lake Eastbrook Boulevard in Kentwood. Owners Jason and Kris Spaulding are still figuring out some of the details for the new taproom, brewery and warehouse facility, including a separate brand for the project, which they’ve currently codenamed Concept 2 by Vivant. The more than 25,000-square-foot facility they purchased, formerly home to a Klingman’s Furniture Outlet store, is located about 6.5 miles from the company’s flagship East Hills location. Brewery Vivant has not determined a target opening date in Kentwood. Lott3Metz Architecture LLC of Grand Rapids designed the new taproom concept. Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction Co. Inc. is serving as the construction manager on the project.
  • Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery and Ice Cream Company LLC has invested $1.6 million into its existing production facility and created 25 jobs. The investment added a new silo alcove and pilot plant at the company’s facility on 48th Street. According to a statement, the family-owned creamery will now be able to expand its distribution network across the United States. The Zeeland-based economic development agency Lakeshore Advantage assisted Hudsonville with the project.
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