Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: May 23, 2022

BY Thursday, May 26, 2022 10:12am

Here is the MiBiz Growth report for May 23, 2022:


  • West Michigan manufacturing automation firm Churchill Technologies LLC has been sold amid what local advisers describe as a “red hot” sector for M&A. The Grand Haven-based Churchill Technologies, which designs and builds special purpose assembly and test equipment, was sold in late April to the Huizenga Group, which owns and operates a portfolio of businesses involved in tool and die, machining and engineering. The Huizenga Group supplies industries ranging from automotive and office furniture to consumer goods and pharmaceuticals. The Huizenga Group’s presence in the manufacturing space — and its understanding of industrial automation — made it the right buyer, Churchill Technologies owner and President Tim Walker said in an announcement of the sale.
  • Wood products and building materials manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. announced that it has purchased an Iowa-based plastic recycler. Through its affiliate, Deckorators Inc., which specializes in composite decking and railing, UFP Industries purchased Tipton, Iowa-based Cedar Poly LLC for $17 million, which includes incentive payments of up to $1.5 million over three years for meeting specified performance goals. As a full-service plastics recycler, Cedar Poly should make sourcing for composite decking material easier for Deckorators, according to company officials. In 2021, Cedar Poly recorded sales of around $17.3 million.
  • Northern Michigan precision machining company Bridge Tool & Die has been sold to an individual investor. The Buckley-based company, which was founded in 2005 by sole owner Glenn Bridgman, recently closed on the sale of the business to investor Rick Watson, an engineer with experience in the aerospace, automotive and industrial sectors. Bridge Tool & Die, which services the oil, natural gas, electronics, home appliance, medical device, automotive and packaging industries, worked alongside Grand Rapids-based M&A advisory firm Calder Capital LLC to complete the deal.
  • Chicago-area insurance brokerage and financial services firm Alera Group has acquired West Michigan Insurance Inc., a Grand Rapids property and casualty insurance agency. The 98-year-old West Michigan Insurance, which also has offices in Shelby and Hart, will become a division of Grand Rapids-based Lighthouse Group insurance agency that Alera acquired in late 2020. West Michigan Insurance will take on the Lighthouse name later this year. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. Alera Group has more than 150 offices across the U.S., including 10 in Michigan, with more than 3,500 employees. Alera acquired Lighthouse in December 2020 and this past January bought Gales Agency from Shelby State Bank. The deal extended Lighthouse’s presence to markets northwest of Grand Rapids to offices in Shelby, Hart, Pentwater and Whitehall.


  • Walters Gardens Inc. is investing $9.15 million to expand its operations in Zeeland Charter Township with a new 40,000-square-foot greenhouse. The project marks the first phase of a planned 10-year, multiphase project for the wholesale perennial grower that was founded in 1946. Construction will begin this spring and the company expects to retain five existing jobs and create 50 new jobs. Four acres of automated greenhouses also are part of the expansion plans.
  • State agriculture officials have announced $200,000 in grant funding to support a Norton Shores coffee producer’s expansion that would create the largest cold brew production facility in the United States. La Colombe Coffee Roasters, a coffee roaster founded in 1994 in Philadelphia, Pa., and known for its ready-to-drink canned lattes, purchased a production plant in Norton Shores in 2016. The company plans a two-part expansion to create a high-speed bottling line as well as introduce cold brewing manufacturing at the facility. La Colombe was among five West Michigan food producers to recently secure Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development grant funding.


​​• CertifID LLC, a Grand Rapids company that developed software to protect money wire transfers in real estate transactions, has closed on $12.5 million in growth capital. The investment from Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, which invests in business-to-business software companies, will enable CertifID “to double down on hiring and retaining exceptional talent that is passionate about building industry-leading technology to protect businesses and unsuspecting home-buyers from fraud,” co-founder and CEO Tyler Adams said.


​​• A Chicago-based property management firm sees long-term opportunity in the Grand Rapids market following a pair of apartment building acquisitions in the past six months totaling more than $17 million in investment. CIG Management LLC most recently acquired Bradford Station for $4.65 million from Bazzani Building Co. The mixed-use, carbon-neutral development sits just north of Medical Mile and sold just over a year after construction was completed on the 16,500-square-foot building. CIG also purchased the Gallery Apartments in downtown Grand Rapids at 10 Commerce Ave. SW for $12.6 million on Dec. 31, 2021 from CWD Real Estate Investment, doing business as Two West Fulton II LLC, according to property records.

​​• Mno-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, has co-invested in a mixed-use property that aims to play a role in the revitalization of a Southwest Michigan city, Tribal Business News reported. Through its subsidiary Red Tail Properties, Mno-Bmadsen has acquired a 50-percent equity position in the City Center Lofts project in Benton Harbor. Under the deal, real estate brokerage and property management firm Cressy Commercial Real Estate will continue to manage the property. In 2021, partners invested $4 million to renovate the downtown Benton Harbor building, which was converted into two commercial spaces and 16 loft apartments.


​​• Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction on a $1.5 million, 2,000-square-foot retail pharmacy at 730 Grandville Ave. in Grand Rapids. The new pharmacy will become Trinity Health’s seventh location in the Grand Rapids area when it opens in December. The others are located at Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Health Saint Mary’s hospital campus, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and southeast Grand Rapids.

​​• Bronson Healthcare launched an internal travel staffing program for nurses and other hard-to-fill clinical positions across the health system. Bronson Travel Staffing offers candidates premium pay with a limited benefits package in exchange for a six-month contract. Individuals hired will work in two-week rotations where needed at inpatient sites across the Bronson Healthcare system, including Bronson Battle Creek Hospital, Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Bronson LakeView Hospital in Paw Paw, Bronson South Haven Hospital, and Bronson Commons Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Mattawan.

​​• Michigan ranked fifth in the nation for patient safety as more than three-quarters of hospitals in the state received an “A” or a “B” grade, according to the latest installment of a semi-annual report card. Forty-one out of 81 hospitals statewide that the Leapfrog Group analyzed for the spring report card earned an “A” while another 22 received a “B.” West Michigan hospitals that received an “A” included: Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids, North Ottawa Community Hospital in Grand Haven, Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, University of Michigan Health-West in Wyoming, Spectrum Health’s Big Rapids Hospital, Lakeland Medical Center in St. Joseph, Lakeland Niles Hospital, Ludington Hospital, United Hospital in Greenville and Zeeland Community Hospital.

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