Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: February 14, 2022

BY Sunday, February 13, 2022 07:00pm


  • Alma-based Pure Aqua Tech LLC, a provider of point-of-use drinking water systems and ice dispensers in Northern Michigan, was acquired by King of Prussia, Pa.-based Quench USA Inc., a provider of water coolers, ice machines and sparkling water dispensers owned by Rosemont, Ill.-based Culligan Inc. Pure Aqua Tech was founded in 2006 and served as a dealer of Wellsys products, a brand also owned by Quench. The deal allows Quench to expand its reach in Northern Michigan and add Pure Aqua Tech’s customers, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • A maker of interior and exterior furniture has significantly expanded its line of pool floats and toys through a recent acquisition. Grand Rapids-based Comfort Research LLC, the business behind the Big Joe brand of furniture, announced that it has closed on a deal to acquire the outdoor portfolio for Toronto-based toy and game company Spin Master Ltd. With the acquisition, Comfort Research, which already produces pool floats, toys and furniture, gains manufacturing operations in Tarboro, N.C., including a 268,000-square-foot manufacturing plant and a 90,000-square-foot distribution facility. The company will also take ownership of Spin Master’s outdoor product line.
  • Private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners will add to its existing capabilities in the fastener space with the acquisition of a Michigan-based rivet manufacturer. The Grand Rapids-based Auxo announced that it has purchased Securit Metal Products Co., a 70-year-old company based in Dowagiac. The company manufactures both solid and tubular rivets that are used in industries such as automotive, heavy transportation, construction and agriculture. The deal is Auxo’s sixth within the state of Michigan and the company’s 14th overall.
  • Wyoming-based HVAC service provider Lamphear Service Co. has been acquired by Livonia-based Drake Company Inc. Founded in 1987, Lamphear provides both residential and commercial service, and has been completely owned by founder Bruce Lamphear. Grand Rapids-based M&A advisory firm Calder Capital LLC represented Lamphear in the deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Belden Brick and Supply Co., a Grand Rapids-based provider of brick, stone and other architectural elements, has become fully employee-owned under an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The company, which supplies both commercial and residential customers, worked with Columbus, Ohio-based Lazear Capital Partners on the ESOP transaction. Belden was founded in 1979 and maintains additional locations in Freeland and Kalamazoo.
  • Charter Growth Capital Fund acquired a minority stake in Grand Rapids public relations and investor relations firm Lambert & Co. The debt and equity investment will go to support Lambert & Co.’s growth at locations in Michigan, Arizona, Texas and New York, as well as help accelerate the firm’s mergers and acquisitions strategy and the launch of new practice areas. Company founder and CEO Jeff Lambert retained a majority stake in the firm. Terms of the investment were otherwise undisclosed. Managed by Grand Rapids-based Charter Capital Partners, Charter Growth Capital Fund makes minority investments of $1 million to $5 million in growing, middle-market companies in the Great Lakes region that need growth capital.
  • SpendMend LLC, a Grand Rapids company that provides spending visibility and audit recovery services to the health care industry, acquired the health care division of Moody Associates, P.A., a Charleston, S.C.-based provider of profit recovery and contract compliance services. The acquisition adds to SpendMend’s market position and elevates the company to more than 120 major health care systems across the nation, including eight of the top 10 systems by patient revenue. Moody Associates will operate under the same name in Charleston. Terms of the acquisition were undisclosed.


  • Electrical services and industrial technology firm Feyen Zylstra LLC is partnering with the federal Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Institute (CESMI) to create a new innovation center. The Walker-based company announced that it received $250,000 in funding from CESMI, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, to create a Smart Manufacturing Innovation Center, which will be housed inside of its existing headquarters. The center allows small and mid-size manufacturers to learn, experience and interact with smart manufacturing technology through measures such as experimental labs, interactive training workshops and showcases. Feyen Zylstra’s innovation center, which is scheduled to open this spring, will be the only one in the country that is not located in a university setting.
  • Long Road Distillers LLC plans to bring a tasting room called Less Traveled to Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood. The Grand Rapids-based distillery plans to serve its spirits, hand crafted cocktails and canned cocktails to-go at 959 Cherry St. SE. The 1,263-square-foot space formerly housed specialty wine and beer retailer Under the Vines. A 555-square-foot patio is planned along Cherry Street as part of the tasting room’s site plans. The indoor capacity would be 49 people, and outdoor seating would have a capacity of 40. 
  • Construction Simplified plans to move and expand its offices in Grand Rapids in preparation for eventually growing its presence across the country. The construction firm is currently located at 895 W. Fulton St. on the city’s west side. It has a development agreement with John McLeod, co-founder and head of new markets for Cloud Cannabis Co., to build a four-story retail and office building nearby at 15 Lexington Ave. NW. The companies plan to break ground on the project this spring. McLeod, doing business as Lexington Avenue NW Properties LLC, owns the Lexington Avenue property and plans to operate a cannabis dispensary on the ground floor of the building.


  • Dwelling Place is planning major renovation work on its longtime affordable housing units in downtown Grand Rapids as it continues to seek financing to convert a surface parking lot into more housing. The nonprofit housing developer has 190 units at its Weston Apartments, located at 21 and 50 Weston St. SW in Grand Rapids’ downtown Heartside neighborhood. The in-demand units are fully leased but are also in need of repairs, Dwelling Place Executive Director Jeremy DeRoo told MiBiz. The minimum monthly leases for the apartments are $25 a month. Dwelling Place plans to apply in October for Low Income Housing Tax Credits through the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to fund the renovation project. 
  • A 16-story addition is planned for Studio Park in downtown Grand Rapids that would add 165 apartments and at least 24 condominium units to the development. The $135 million first phase of Studio Park was completed in the fall of 2021 and includes a nine-screen movie theater, Acrisure LLC’s headquarters, 106 apartments at Studio Lofts, a Canopy by Hilton hotel, a six-story parking structure, as well as ground floor retail. Additional residential units were always planned at the development at 120 Ottawa Ave. SW, Studio Park developer Olsen Loeks Development LLC Partner Jeff Olsen told MiBiz.
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