Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: April 11, 2021

BY Sunday, April 11, 2021 12:00pm

This is the MiBiz Growth Report for April 11, 2021.


  • Grandville-based Kerkstra Precast Inc., a producer of precast and prestressed concrete products, has been acquired by private equity-backed Fabcon Precast LLC, based in Minneapolis, Minn. Founded in 1962, Kerkstra serves the industrial, commercial, residential and infrastructure markets throughout the Midwest. The company’s product offerings include architectural wall panels, hollowcore planks, beams, columns, double tees and stairs. In addition to a Grandville location, Kerkstra also maintains a location just outside of Detroit. 
  • Otsego Crane & Hoist Co., a manufacturer that specializes in overhead material handling equipment, has been sold to individual investors. Grand Rapids-based merger and acquisition advisers Calder Capital LLC advised the Otsego-based company on the sale. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company was purchased by two Grand Rapids-based intellectual property attorneys, who chose to remain anonymous.
  • Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Camping World Holdings Inc. (NYSE: CWH) signed an agreement to purchase Escanaba-based Hilltop RV Superstore, according to a statement. The companies expect the deal to close in May. Hilltop RV operates dealerships in Ishpeming and Escanaba and sells a range of new and used RVs, as well as outdoor products and accessories. The deal expands Camping World’s reach into the Upper Peninsula for the first time. With the addition of Hilltop RV, Camping World will operate six dealerships in Michigan, including a location at 201 76th St. SW in Byron Township along U.S. 131. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Pittsburg, Kan.-based Watco Companies LLC, a railroad operator of short lines that owns the Grand Elk Railroad Inc. in Grand Rapids, has signed an agreement with Canadian National Railways to take over about 650 miles of track in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin from its Wisconsin Central Ltd. subsidiary. The deal also includes about 250 miles of track in Canada, including the Agawa Canyon Tour Train scenic passenger rail service that operates out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The CN lines included in the deal service more than 90 freight customers, according to a statement. 
  • Hudsonville-based M&A firm NuVescor Group advised New Hudson-based industrial controls company Outbound Technologies Inc. on its sale to France-based firm VINCI Energies S.A. Outbound Technologies was established in 1994 and works with companies in a variety of industries to implement network and software, control, and computing technologies. For VINCI Energies, which employs 80,000 people and operates in 56 countries, the purchase further expands its industrial business portfolio in the U.S. 
  • Kentwood-based Wolverine Building Group Inc. has expanded its footprint to Southeast Michigan with the acquisition of Brighton-based construction firm Contracting Resources Inc. Contracting Resources has 21 employees and offers construction management services to health care, retail, religious, commercial and medical office markets. The company was founded in 2001 by Jim Barnas, a Brighton native who has 40 years of industry experience. He plans to continue working at Contracting Resources during the transition through the end of 2021 before retiring. 
  • A division of Grand Rapids-based wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. (Nasdaq: UFPI) has acquired a Wisconsin-based arts and crafts supplier. Handprint, which is a home and decor business unit of UFP Industries, announced that it would acquire Walnut Hollow Farm Inc., which was founded in 1972 and located in Dodgeville, Wis. With sales of around $11 million in 2020, Walnut Hollow produces a variety of finely finished wood surfaces for hobby, craft and woodworking projects.
  • Platinum Driveline Inc., a distributor of automotive clutch kits that is located in both Eureka, Mo. and Queretaro, Mexico, acquired West Michigan-based parts provider Global Parts Source Inc. The Holland-based company stands as one of the leading distributors of FTE brand hydraulic clutch parts and components.
  • Byron Center-based Starlite Kitchens & Baths Inc., which specializes in designing, delivering and installing cabinets and countertops for both homeowners and builders, was acquired by Brighton-based KSI Kitchens. Founded in 2000 and currently employing 29 people, Starlite worked with Grand Rapids-based mergers and acquisitions advisers Calder Capital LLC to sell the business. For KSI Kitchens, the strategic acquisition adds a ninth design studio for the family-owned company and its first one in the West Michigan market.
  • Traverse City-based insurance broker High Street Insurance Partners, backed by Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital Partners LLC, acquired Elliott Hartman Agency of Waterloo, Iowa, and Wall Street Insurance of Colorado. Since forming in August 2018, High Street Insurance Partners has closed on 21 acquisitions and says it continues to pursue additional deals. 


  • Petoskey Plastics Inc. — a manufacturer of plastic films, bags and resin — aims to meet surging demand in one of its business segments by expanding operations to a new facility in Texas. The Petoskey-based company, which employs 451 full-time and 113 part-time or temporary employees, recently announced that it is investing $30 million into a facility located in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of McKinney. The new Texas facility will help address market pressures, allowing the company to increase output by around 15 percent over the next year. The existing building is 53,000 square feet, and Petoskey Plastics plans to add an additional 40,000 to 60,000 square feet by August 2022. 
  • Wyoming-based Express Employment Professionals launched a professional and executive search firm, Specialized Recruiting Group, to focus on professional placement and executive searches in West Michigan across a number of industries and position types. They include nonprofit, human resources, supply chain, operations, engineering, I.T., accounting and finance, and sales and marketing positions. Heather Merrick, an Express employee since 2015, leads Specialized Recruiting Group as managing director.


  • Lake Odessa-based Union Financial Corp., the holding company for Union Bank, completed a private placement to accredited investors by issuing common stock that netted $6 million. Union Bank plans to use the proceeds for continued growth that includes expansion in the Grand Rapids market, where the bank recently hired Tim Doyle as executive vice president and chief lending officer. Union Bank has offices in Ada, Lake Odessa, Dimondale, Hastings, Mulliken, and Westphalia. The bank ended 2020 with $296.4 million in total assets and $270.2 million in deposits.


  • Grand Rapids-based Warner Norcross + Judd LLP completed the buildout of its new Detroit office. Once Michigan’s COVID-19 office safety regulations allow, the law firm plans to move up to 60 attorneys and team members into the third floor of the building on Woodward Avenue. The Ilitch family’s Olympia Development built and developed 2715 Woodward, located between Little Caesars Arena and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University, as part of its District Detroit project to transform a 50-block area into a business, sports and entertainment district.


  • Mercy Health and an Auburn Hills-based operator of psychiatric hospitals plans to build a new facility in Kent County through a joint venture. Havenwyck Hospital Inc. — an affiliate of Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services Inc. — received tentative state approval for a 60-bed adult inpatient psychiatric hospital near Mercy Health’s Southwest Campus at Byron Center Avenue and M-6. The new psychiatric hospital will have room for 24 additional inpatient beds for geriatric psychiatric patients and for future expansion.
  • Grand Rapids-based Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital will provide physical therapy beginning this summer at the Holland Community Aquatic Center. Mary Free Bed clinicians will use the center’s warm-water pool, fitness space and private treatment rooms to treat a variety of conditions and provide aquatic therapy. Mary Free Bed will “begin with the basics and add more specialized programs, some of which are unique in West Michigan,” CEO Kent Riddle said.
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