Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Jan. 16, 2023

BY Sunday, January 15, 2023 05:27pm

A roundup of mergers and acquisitions, expansions and other briefs across West Michigan.


  • Highland-based LaFontaine Automotive Group LLC is adding to its West Michigan presence with a deal to acquire Grand Rapids-based Pfeiffer Lincoln Inc. The renamed LaFontaine Lincoln dealership operates a store at the southeast corner of 28th Street and Breton. The deal also includes Pfeiffer Wholesale Parts distribution business, which generated annual sales in excess of $21 million and operates from a nearby 20,600-square-foot center on 29th Street, according to a statement, which noted Pfeiffer operated one of the largest Ford wholesale parts distributors in Michigan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. LaFontaine Automotive Group entered the greater Grand Rapids market in August 2022 with the acquisition of Keller Ford in Walker. An affiliate of LaFontaine Automotive Group also acquired the real estate for the store from the Keller family for about $7.6 million, according to city of Walker property records. 
  • Byron Center-based food distribution and grocery retailer SpartanNash Co. (Nasdaq: SPTN) is expanding its distribution capacity with the acquisition of Great Lakes Foods LLC, an independent grocery wholesaler based in Menominee. The deal includes the company’s 300,000-square-foot distribution center. The more than 130-year-old company serves 100 independent grocery customers throughout Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, and employs 125 people. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Williams Distributing Co., a Grand Rapids-based distributor of HVAC equipment and residential building products, sold to a subsidiary of Osaka, Japan-based Daikin Industries Ltd. The deal for the family-owned Williams, which operates 32 locations in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and employs nearly 600 people, gives Daikin Comfort Technologies North America Inc. a greater foothold in the Midwest, particularly as Daikin expands offerings for inverter heat pump technologies in cold climates. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Battle Creek-based Davis Oil Co., a Marathon convenience store operator with 21 locations in West Michigan, has sold to Lawrenceville, Ga.-based Majors Management LLC, according to a statement. The asset purchase of family-owned Davis Oil and its affiliates marks the entry into the Michigan market for Majors Management, an owner, developer and operator of convenience stores and a motor fuels distributor. Davis Oil Co. was advised on the deal by Chicago-based NRC Realty & Capital Advisors LLC, a financial advisory firm for the convenience store industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Steve Dalga, founder of Control Electric Inc., a Cascade Township-based residential and commercial electric services provider, sold the company to an unnamed individual investor. The new owner “plans to be hands-on in the company’s day-to-day operations and will utilize their management experience and technical trade knowledge to successfully take over and grow the company,” according to an announcement on the sale from Grand Rapids-based Calder Capital LLC, which represented Dalga in seeking a buyer. Terms of the desal were undisclosed.
  • Union Home Mortgage, a Strongsville, Ohio-based retail, wholesale and consumer-direct mortgage company, has acquired Portage-based Amerifirst Home Mortgage. The acquisition “will expand UHM’s national reach in key markets and bring together two leading USDA mortgage lenders,” according to a statement. The deal comes less than two weeks after Amerifirst filed notice of plans to initiate layoffs. UHM is a top 50 mortgage lender in the U.S. with more than $13 billion in lending each year. Amerifirst originated $2.8 billion in lending in 2021 and $3.3 billion in 2020. 
  • Marquette-based Easy Ice LLC has acquired DeMotte, Ind.-based Polar Ice Systems, an ice machine leasing and service company that services customers in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, according to a statement from December. Private equity-backed Easy Ice, a commercial ice machine rental and servicing company, now manages more than 30,000 units across 47 states. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Easy Ice is a portfolio company of Los Angeles, Calif.-based private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co.
  • Ocala, Fla.-based Optimum RV acquired Muskegon RV from owner Tim Baker in December, according to a statement. A 30-year veteran of the automotive industry, Baker originally acquired the business in 2008 and decided to sell as he neared retirement age. Irvine, Calif.-based Performance Brokerage Services, a North American dealership brokerage firm, advised Baker on the deal and introduced him to Denver Beck at Optimum RV, which operates seven stores across Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. The acquisition marks Optimum RV’s first foray into the Michigan market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Hudsonville-based Magnum Equipment LLC has been acquired by Kersey, Pa.-based GM Equipment Corp. in a deal that closed Dec. 28. GM Equipment offers aerial and material handling equipment to customers across Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland. The acquisition allowed the company to expand into Michigan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Z Rental Consulting advised Magnum Equipment in the transaction. 


  • Automation solutions provider Axis Automation plans a $5.7 million expansion in Walker that could create up to 50 jobs. The company will leverage a $500,000 Jobs Ready Michigan performance-based grant from the Michigan Strategic Fund in the project. The growth follows a $4 million investment in a new facility in early 2018 that also had state backing from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. Founded in 2015 in Walker, Axis Automation specializes in designing, programming and building robotic automation and assembly equipment for a variety of industries. 
  • Medical equipment manufacturer Tech Group Grand Rapids Inc. plans a $38.7 million expansion to “significantly expand production capacity” and create an estimated 90 jobs at its Walker facility. Founded in 2001 and located in Walker since 2007, Tech Group Grand Rapids plans to add 39,000 square feet, including 19,000 square feet of production space, to its facility at 3116 N. Wilson Court NW. The company produces packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and health care products and is a division of Pennsylvania-based West Pharmaceutical Services Inc., a global contract manufacturer for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Health care

  • Kalamazoo-based Constance Brown Hearing Centers became part of Bronson Healthcare, allowing for easier collaboration and follow-up care between the two organizations. The nonprofit annually serves nearly 3,000 patients of all ages, offering diagnostic hearing testing, counseling and preventative programs. The organization donated its assets to Bronson and made a donation to the Bronson Health Foundation through a restricted endowment fund to assist people who are hearing impaired and need financial assistance. The renamed Bronson Constance Brown Hearing Center will have four locations, including two existing offices on Gull Road in Kalamazoo and West Centre Avenue in Portage.
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