Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Aug. 1, 2022

BY Sunday, July 31, 2022 06:38pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for August 1, 2022:


  • Walstrom Marine Inc., a Harbor Springs-based yacht sales and service company and marina operator acquired last year by Continuum Ventures LLC, the family office for Doug and Maria DeVos, has expanded into southeast Michigan with its first add-on acquisition. Walstrom Marine will take over operations of Algonac Harbour Club LLC, a full-service deep-water marina located in Algonac on the St. Clair River. AHC founder Peter Beauregard, Sr. will consult with Walstrom during a transition period, with Pete Beauregard, Jr. retaining an ownership stake in the company. The add-on acquisition fits with Continuum Ventures’ goal to “build the leading premium boat dealer and marina operator in the Great Lakes region, starting with Michigan,” according to a statement. An investment group led by Continuum Ventures acquired Walstrom Marine in June 2021, a deal in which Pete Beauregard and his family also participated. Algonac Harbour Club will continue to operate under its existing brand. Walstrom Marine President Tom Ervin will take over leadership of Algonac Harbour Club, whose current general manager, Greg Macuga, will run daily operations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Grand Rapids-based Fox Motor Group LLC has expanded its holdings in southeast Michigan with the acquisition of three dealerships from Ken Garff Automotive LLC, a dealer group based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Under the deal, Fox Motors picked up Cadillac of Novi, Southfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM (rebranded as Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Southfield) and Telegraph Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM (rebranded as Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Taylor). The addition of Cadillac of Novi marks the first time the Dan DeVos-owned Fox Motors will sell the General Motors luxury brand. Fox now operates five stores in the metro Detroit area, including BMW of Farmington Hills and Jaguar Land Rover Farmington Hills, which the dealer group acquired last year. With the acquisition, Fox Motors’ portfolio includes 46 automotive and powersports brands at 38 locations spanning Michigan and Illinois. Fox picked up 250 new employees in the latest deal and now employs 1,875 people.
  • Grand Rapids-based fintech and global insurance broker Acrisure LLC has added to its cyber services business with acquisitions of Indianapolis, Ind.-based Catalyst Technology Group and Bar Mills, Maine-based ITS Inc. The acquisitions give the fast-growing Acrisure access to products and services that include Microsoft products, licenses, and Azure Cloud services; Dell computers and components; Cisco networking equipment and software; and installation and support engineering. Terms of both acquisitions were undisclosed. Acrisure launched its cyber services division earlier this year and has been rapidly expanding capabilities to offer full cybersecurity services to clients. Through the first half of 2022, Acrisure closed on 43 acquisitions, according to Chicago-based Optis Partners LLC, which tracks M&A in the industry. 
  • Grand Rapids-based American Storage & Logistics, a supplier of new, used and refurbished warehouse equipment, is expanding its capabilities with acquisitions of two equipment suppliers based in the northeastern United States. In separate deals, the company acquired Binghamton, N.Y.-based Binghamton Material Handling Inc., a family-owned supplier of industrial equipment serving central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania, and Granite Industrial Machinery LLC, a Milford, N.H.-based distributor and servicer of forklifts. According to a statement, the acquisitions will enable American Storage to expand its equipment product lines and service offerings and enable the company to serve a broader geographic market. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. American Storage & Logistics also is changing its name and plans to rebrand all three entities under BMH Equipment LLC.
  • Grand Rapids-based restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. (OTCQX: MHGU) is expanding its holdings in Florida with a deal to acquire six Wendy’s locations in Jacksonville. The deal is expected to add $11 million in annual sales for Meritage, which generated $577.1 million in revenue last year. Executives expect the new stores will be accretive to earnings. Meritage funded the deal with cash on hand. The six Jacksonville stores complement the 54 Wendy’s restaurant locations the company already operates in northern Florida. Meritage plans to immediately integrate the newly acquired stores into its operating and accounting systems. Currently, the company operates 348 restaurants across a 16-state area and employs about 11,000 people. 
  • Rockford-based plumbing and remodeling contractor Kellermeier Plumbing Inc. was sold to Scott Mostert and Ken Cronkright, who both have extensive experience in the plumbing industry. Blaine and Mary Kellermeier, represented by Grand Rapids-based Calder Capital LLC, sold the business after 26 years of ownership to transition to retirement. KeyBank provided financing for the deal. Grandville-based Hofstee & McLean PC advised the buyers on the deal, while Grand Rapids-based Schnelker, Rassi, & McConnell PLC represented Kellermeier Plumbing.
  • Marquette-based Easy Ice LLC, a private equity-backed commercial ice machine rental and servicing company, has expanded its footprint in Florida with the acquisition of Fort Myers-based Thrifty Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc., which offers ice machine leasing and service. The deal allows Easy Ice to add “customer density” in Florida, as well as a branch location and service facility, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Easy Ice is a portfolio company of Los Angeles, Calif.-based private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co.


Venture capital

  • 86 Repairs Inc., a restaurant equipment repair and maintenance company founded in Grand Rapids, has raised $15.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Silicon Valley-based Storm Ventures. Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service Inc. and Chicago-based Cleveland Avenue also participated in the deal. The raise, which will support product innovation and nearly three-times year-over-year revenue growth, comes after the company landed $7.3 million in seed funding in 2021. 86 Repairs, which also has operations in Chicago, partners with restaurants to provide end-to-end repairs and maintenance for kitchen equipment.
    Food service distributor Gordon Food Service is among the returning investors in a Chicago-based venture capital fund that invests in the food and retail industries. 
  • The closely held Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service Inc. also participated in Valor Equity Partners’ recent $595 million fundraising round for Valor Siren Ventures II L.P., an early stage venture capital fund. The new fund, which oversubscribed its target of $400 million, follows in the footsteps of Valor Siren Ventures I, which Chicago-based Valor Equity formed in 2019 in partnership with Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. Strategic anchor investors Starbucks and Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A. both participated in the second fund. In addition to Gordon Foods, other returning investors included Marriott International Inc., Kuwait-based multinational retail franchise operator Alshaya Group, and Mexico City-based restaurant operator and holding company Alsea S.A.B. de C.V. Valor Siren Ventures targets investments in early stage companies in food, food technology, retail, retail technology and sustainability within the food and retail markets. 
  • Bingham Farms-based SpinTech MRI Inc., a portfolio company of Grand Rapids-based Genesis Innovation Group’s cultivate(MD) Capital Funds LP, closed on a $6.5 million Series A financing round. The round included investments from cultivate(MD) Capital Funds LP and Ypsilanti-based Level 8 Ventures. SpinTech is developing an MRI platform that speeds and improves the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological diseases. The company has already deployed its technology at more than 50 hospitals and institutions for advanced research, analysis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. SpinTech plans to use the funding to expand the use of its software technology for neurologists, radiologists and researchers.
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