Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: November 22, 2020

BY Sunday, November 22, 2020 10:47am

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for November 22, 2020.


  • Chicago-based private equity firm Westbourne Capital Partners recently completed a strategic investment in Grand Rapids-based Proos Manufacturing, which specializes in designing and manufacturing material handling solutions. The investment, made to support Proos Manufacturing’s rapid growth in domestic and international e-commerce fulfillment, was made in partnership with Samson Investment Partners, which is based in New York and Dallas, in addition to a group of additional family offices. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Belding-based Flat River Group, a toy and game distributor, acquired Optimum Fulfillment, an Illinois-based company that services the e-commerce industry as a wholesaler of toys, games and other consumer products. Optimum Fulfillment sells to the likes of Amazon, Walmart and Target, according to a statement. Flat River Group will continue to operate Optimum Fulfillment’s facility in Peru, Ill. 
  • Grand Rapids-based TTS Logistics, a transporter of specialty produce, has been acquired by LaFayette, La.-based Dupré Logistics, an energy and chemical trucking firm, according to a statement. The deal marks the entry into a new market for the privately held Dupré, which aims to grow its “asset light business unit” to $200 million in sales by 2024. TTS Logistics’ 15 employees have joined the team at Dupré, which will maintain the company’s offices in Grand Rapids and Mount Pleasant. Dupré operates 750 trucks and employs more than 1,100 drivers, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Ada-based Century Technology Group Inc., a family office that provides tech companies with growth capital, administrative resources and managerial consulting, has acquired custom software and app developer Grand Rapids-based Mutually Human. Century Technology Group plans to invest in strategic sales and marketing to grow Mutually Human, in addition to recruiting outside talent and adding complementary development capabilities.
  • Major Brands Oil Co. of Holland acquired Central Oil Co., a Roseville-based distributor that specializes in industrial and commercial lubricants throughout Southeast Michigan and parts of Ohio. Central Oil offers next-day delivery for coolants, lubricants, oils and speciality chemicals and gives Major Brands Oil a foothold in the metro Detroit region.
  • An active stretch of acquisitions for Grand Rapids-based wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. continued as the company announced it acquired three new businesses. UFP Construction LLC, an affiliate of UFP Industries that serves the construction market, acquired the assets of New Hampshire-based companies Atlantic Prefab Inc., Exterior Designs LLC and Patriot Building Systems LLC. The trio of companies combine to serve both the commercial and multifamily construction markets in the northeastern states. The three companies combined for $28 million in sales over the last 12-month period that ended in September. UFP also made an equity investment in Milan, Italy-based Enwrap Logistic & Packaging S.r.l., giving the company a foothold in the European market.

Venture capital

  • Raising nearly $21.6 million gives Holland-based Shoulder Innovations Inc. the capital needed to scale up operations and bring new products to market. The company, which developed a new generation orthopedic shoulder implant, raised the Series C capital round from 24 investors. They include mostly existing shareholders as well as California-based venture capital firms U.S. Venture Partners and Lightstone Ventures, which co-led the round and invested in Shoulder Innovations for the first time. Other equity round investors included Alumni Venture Partners in Manchester, N.H., Grand Rapids-based Wakestream Ventures, the Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center of Western Michigan University, Invest Michigan in Detroit, and the Michigan Angel Fund in Ann Arbor.


  • Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses and the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce received $75,000 each from Flagstar Bank to offer grants to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. GRABB and the Hispanic Chamber will provide $5,000 grants to small businesses for working capital to pay daily operating expenses such as rent, payroll and utilities. Grant recipients may also use the money for transitioning to e-commerce, curbside pickup, delivery integration, and “other creative solutions to increase revenue,” according to a statement. The $75,000 that each organization received is part of a $1 million grant program Troy-based Flagstar Bank created for small businesses owned by people of color. GRABB and the Hispanic Chamber are administering the grant program in West Michigan.

Health care

  • Bronson Healthcare directors named a new outpatient cancer center after former president and CEO Frank Sardone, who retired last December after 32 years with the Kalamazoo-based health system. Construction continues on the five-story, 85,000-square-foot Frank J. Sardone Pavilion on the campus of Bronson Methodist Hospital that’s scheduled to open in January, providing chemotherapy and infusion services for adults.


  • A recent cyberattack caused global operations for Grand Rapids-based office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) to shut down for two weeks, according to a mid-November filing with securities regulators. Steeclase revealed that it shut down most of its global order management, manufacturing and distribution systems for two weeks following the attack. As of now, operations have returned to normal.


  • Plummeting freight rates paired with the economic slowdown that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on trucking company DIS Transportation LLC, leading the Kentwood-based business to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. DIS Transportation, and its affiliate company DIS Express Inc., submitted its filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan in mid November. The filing was the latest in a growing number of cases filed under Subchapter V of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which was created by the Small Business Reorganization Act that passed by Congress last year and took effect in February.
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