Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: August 2, 2020

BY MIBIZ STAFF Sunday, August 02, 2020 10:08am

MiBiz growth report for August 2, 2020.


  • Grand Rapids-based Acrisure LLC has acquired the insurance practice of Tulco LLC, a provider of artificial intelligence and machine-learning technology based in Pittsburgh, Pa. The $400 million deal “enables true deployment of ‘insurtech at scale’ as it combines the global distribution power of Acrisure, the fastest growing broker in insurance industry history, with the world-class, proven AI expertise of Tulco,” according to a statement. The acquisition follows a year-long partnership between Acrisure and Tulco and the formation of Altway Insurance, an AI-backed insurance brokerage initially focused on individual health benefits. The deal was structured as a stock-for-stock trade, with Tulco becoming a significant minority shareholder in Acrisure. Corporate partners Michael Wooldridge and Seth Ashby at Grand Rapids-based Varnum LLP advised Acrisure on the deal.
  • Kalamazoo-based National Flavors LLC, a producer of flavors and extracts for the food and beverage industry, acquired GSB & Associates Inc., a Kennesaw, Ga.-based company specializing in flavor development. The deal was the first bolt-on acquisition for National Flavors since becoming a platform company for The Riverside Co., a Cleveland, Ohio-based private equity firm. GSB’s portfolio of liquid and powdered flavors, masking agents and flavor enhancers complements National Flavors’ existing library of flavors, according to a statement. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. 
  • Via its Italy-based Poltrona Frau Group, Holland-based Haworth Inc. acquired Luxury Living Group, an Italian furniture maker and interior design company that produces and distributes high-end furniture in Italy, working under licensing agreements with such brands as Fendi Casa, Bentley Home and Bugatti Home. Luxury Living has a worldwide network of 80 retailers and directly owned stores in Milan, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Miami. The company generated about $104 million in revenues, down from a reported $139 million in 2017, and employs 250 people. Terms of the deal with Haworth were not disclosed.
  • Wyoming, Mich.-based C.G. Witvoet & Sons Co., a fourth-generation family-owned custom sign maker, has been acquired by JBLR & Associates LLC, a Jackson-based investment group. C.G. Witvoet & Sons, founded in 1932, operates from two facilities in the Grand Rapids area and serves as a manufacturer and wholesaler of interior retail store décor, signage and displays. The company had been looking for a partner with additional resources to help scale up, CFO Pete Musser said in a statement. Terms of the deal, which was finalized in June, were not disclosed. C.G. Witvoet & Sons was advised on the deal by Grand Rapids-based M&A firm Calder Capital LLC


  • Grand Rapids Aseptic Manufacturing completed a $60 million facility that more than tripled its existing footprint in Grand Rapids. The new facility, located on Butterworth Avenue near downtown Grand Rapids, is GRAM’s third fill and finish facility. The company now has more than 100,000 square feet of production space.
  • Jackson-based Alro Plastics has started building a 160,000-square-foot facility located near the intersection of 60th Street and Patterson Avenue in Kentwood. The new Grand Rapids-area location is slated to open in the coming spring. Alro Plastics will run sales, fabrication, logistics and warehousing out of 65,000 square feet of the space. Wolverine Building Co. will handle construction for the project, which will begin once Dykema Excavating completes site preparation work. Alro Plastics is also working with Robert Grooters Development Co. on the project. Alro plans to offer the remaining space at the facility for lease. 
  • To take pressure off of its existing two facilities, Flat River Group recently announced the opening of a new 160,000-square-foot distribution center in Kentwood at 3729 Patterson Ave. SE, near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. Flat River Group was established in Belding in 2011 and serves as a distributor of niche and mainstream toy and game products. It also acts as a full-service provider for warehousing and fulfillment to a variety of e-commerce retailers in the U.S. and Canada. The facility is owned and operated by Sibsco LLC.
  • Elk Rapids-based Short’s Brewing Co. and its Starcut Ciders and Beaches Hard Seltzer lines expanded distribution last month to five new states: Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The company also distributes to Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as parts of Pennsylvania. 
  • Classic Transportation & Warehousing broke ground on a $5.5 million facility in Wayland next to its corporate offices. FCC Construction Inc. is the general contractor for the 145,000-square-foot project at 1175 147th Ave., which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021. Classic Transportation & Warehousing is a third party warehousing and transportation company. The new facility will consist of food-grade storage and an office area for support staff. The space will serve new and existing customers as the company explores leasing options for refrigerated and freezer space, which the company currently doesn’t offer.

Health care

  • Bronson Healthcare expanded primary care services in the Kalamazoo area with the opening of seven Bronson Primary Care Partners offices. The offices are staffed by 62 care providers from Portage Physicians P.C. who previously practiced at Ascension Borgess ProMed and moved to Bronson this year. Bronson Healthcare also opened a new testing laboratory across John Street from the Bronson Methodist Hospital North Campus. The lab provides an array of clinical services to Bronson system hospitals, practices and outpatient clinics and other providers and health care facilities throughout Southwest Michigan.
  • The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute has launched a search for a new executive director. The institute, which works to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care, hopes to find a new leader who’s from West Michigan and familiar with the community. Micah Foster, a certified physician assistant, has led GRAAHI for a year as interim executive director. Foster serves on the search committee with the GRAAHI board of directors and HR Collaborative LLC, a Grand Rapids-based human resources and talent firm that will lead the search. After GRAAHI hires a new executive director, Foster takes on a new role to oversee development of a medical advisory council of African American health care providers and community health practitioners.
  • Grand Rapids-based Advanced Cardiac & Vascular Centers for Amputation Prevention PLC opened an office in Las Vegas, Nev., the practice’s fourth location and first outside of Michigan. The outpatient center, led by Dr. Rick Bernstein and Dr. George Pliagas, offers comprehensive vascular, arterial and vein care. ACV Centers opened in Grand Rapids more than two years ago. ACV Centers, which specializes in treating peripheral artery disease and complications from critical limb ischemia, preventing limb amputations, has two Grand Rapids locations and a Lansing office. The practice draws 10 percent of its patients from outside of Michigan.
  • Four physicians in rehabilitation care have begun post-graduate training in Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency. The four were selected from an applicant pool of more than 300 candidates. Launched in 2017, the Mary Free Bed residency program now has 12 residents who are in various stages of training to care for children and adults who need intensive rehabilitation.

Higher ed

  • Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing received a $1.5 million federal grant to provide primary and behavioral health care at housing sites in Grand Rapids’ Heartside neighborhood through the GVSU Family Health Center and Dwelling Place. The grant came from the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal program aims to increase access and quality of primary care and behavioral health services to individuals living in low-income housing. 
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