Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: April 12, 2020

BY MIBIZ STAFF Sunday, April 12, 2020 10:14am

This is the MiBiz growth report for April 12, 2020.


  • Grand Rapids-based public relations and investor relations firm Lambert & Co. has acquired ad agency Fairly Painless Advertising Inc. of Holland. The deal gives Lambert & Co. added complementary capabilities in creative services and advertising. Fairly Painless will continue to maintain its current brand. Founded in 1992, Fairly Painless serves regional and national clients in the automotive and manufacturing, consumer products, education, financial services, nonprofit and retail sectors. The firm employs 12 people. Terms of the deal, which closed in early March, were not disclosed.
  • Jackson-based Melling Engine Parts acquired Performance Springs UK Ltd. of Blackpool, England. The company was renamed Melling Performance Springs Ltd., and management and sales staff are staying on under the new ownership, according to a statement. Performance Springs is a designer and manufacturer of automotive and industrial springs. Family-owned Melling Engine Parts is a supplier to the original equipment and performance aftermarket segments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • An affiliate of Grand Rapids-based Universal Forest Products Inc. (Nasdaq: UFPI) has acquired the operating assets of Quest Design & Fabrication and Quest Architectural Millwork, collectively known as Quest. Based near Houston, Texas, Quest designs, fabricates and installs millwork and casegoods for a variety of commercial uses, including builder’s sales centers, design studios, hospitality, corporate offices and health care, according to a statement. The company had approximately $22 million in sales in 2019. Quest will join Universal Forest Products’ commercial construction business unit.
  • Pallet management firm Kamps Inc., based in Grand Rapids, has acquired wood products wholesaler D&H Bark Inc. of Manton in Wexford County. D&H Bark has been in operation for more than three decades and specializes in wood products ranging from hardwood, red pine, and cedar barks; animal bedding; colored mulches; and landscape chips. For Kamps, the acquisition will allow the company to capitalize on ongoing growth nationally in its pallet and recycling divisions. The addition will allow Kamps to produce bark and mulch at a higher volume, as well as expand its customer base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Ada-based design and development firm 2B Studio Inc. has been acquired by Innovation Studios LLC, which is based in Plymouth in Southeast Michigan. 2B Studio’s founder Bruce Sienkowski will remain as president of the company, which currently has eight employees. Innovation Studios is led by Herman Grewal, who ventured into the design business after owning and operating restaurant franchises. Sienkowski worked with Grand Rapids-based Small Business Deal Advisors LLC. The Business Law Group served as legal adviser to 2B Studio, while Rhoades McKee PC advised Innovation Studios. Additionally, Small Business Deal Advisors represented Dickey’s Barbecue Pit of Novi in its sale to an individual investor in a deal financed by The Huntington National Bank
  • Lansing-based food and animal safety products manufacturer Neogen Corp. (Nasdaq: NEOG) completed its fifth international deal of 2020 with the acquisition of Chile-based Magiar Chilena, a distributor of food, animal and plant diagnostics. Terms of the deal, which closed March 31, were not disclosed. Neogen will plug Magiar’s assets into its wholly owned subsidiary, Neogen Chile SpA, according to a statement. The Magiar deal complements Neogen’s previous acquisitions of similar businesses in Argentina and Uruguay and gives the company a physical presence throughout the “Southern Cone” of South America, a large agricultural producing region. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Kalamazoo-based National Flavors LLC was acquired by Cleveland-based private equity firm The Riverside Co., according to a statement. National Flavors is a producer of flavors used in beverages, frozen desserts, baked goods, confections and processed fruits. The company will become part of the specialty ingredients portfolio for Riverside, which typically invests in lower middle market companies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Capital raise

  • Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital closed in March on a $700,000 raise for Grand Haven-based Grand Power Systems Inc. that involved four investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing indicated the private equity firm wants to raise another $50,000 for Grand Power. Blackford Capital plans to match the investment with debt to provide growth capital for Grand Power. The growth capital will go toward new engineering technologies.


  • Grand Rapids-based Alliant Healthcare Products was awarded a $43.7 million, five-year Laboratory ECAT contract by the Defense Logistics Agency. The ECAT contract is an online electronic catalog for laboratory-specific medical research products, and acts as one of the preferred purchasing sources for the Department of Defense and the Veterans Affairs health care system. Alliant Healthcare will work with Olympus Life Sciences to provide ECAT customers with microscopes, accessories and other laboratory products. Alliant Healthcare is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business specializing in federal government sales, contracting and distribution. 


  • The Insurance Alliance of Michigan named Erin McDonough as its new executive director. McDonough, who most recently served as president and CEO of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, succeeds Tricia Kinley, who retired April 3. McDonough has 17 years of public policy experience and 11 years of executive association management experience, including past service as executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

Medical device

  • Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. developed a low-cost, limited-release emergency response bed for health care providers to use during the COVID-19 pandemic. In developing the bed, Stryker focused “on meeting the supply needs of our customers so they can focus on taking care of patients right now,” said Brad Saar, president of Stryker’s Medical division. Stryker expects to make 10,000 beds a week.


  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded nearly $2 million in grants to Michigan fair housing organizations. The funds were disbursed to confront violations of the U.S. Fair Housing Act and combat housing discrimination. The Grand Rapids-based Fair Housing Center of West Michigan received $425,000 total from HUD, while the Kalamazoo-based Fair Housing Center of Southwest Michigan was given a total of $423,605 for enforcement and education and outreach-related services.
  • Michigan’s 12 federally recognized Native American tribes have been awarded $4.5 million in block grants for affordable housing activities to protect the health and safety of their tribal citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds, issued by HUD, are part of $200 million in Indian Housing Block Grants included in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Under the funding, tribes can use the grants for housing development, maintenance, modernization and housing-related services for tribal members. West Michigan tribes that received funding include the Dowagiac-based Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians ($652,952), Manistee-based Little River Band of Ottawa Indians ($91,607), the Fulton-based Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi ($130,894), and the Dorr-based Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, known as the Gun Lake Tribe ($58,700). 
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