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Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: November 7, 2021.

BY Sunday, November 07, 2021 01:17pm

Here's the MiBiz Growth Report for November 7, 2021.


  • Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners has entered the railroad business by acquiring a majority stake in Bluefield, W.Va.- and Roanoke, Va.-based Genesis Rail Services LLC. The firm provides maintenance, mechanical and construction services for industrial railroads across the U.S. Its clients include Kansas City Southern, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, Amtrak and Florida East Coast Railway. Terms of the deal were undisclosed. 
  • Private equity firm Blackford Capital has added to its holdings in the hospitality sector with the acquisition of ID Collaborative Inc., a Greensboro, N.C.-based interior design firm. ID Collaborative provides procurement and design services for clients throughout the southeastern United States in the senior living, health care, multifamily, corporate and hospitality sectors. The deal marks Blackford Capital’s third this year in the interior design industry. 
  • Wood products manufacturer UFP Industries Inc. continues to expand its presence in Australia after wholly owned subsidiary The UBEECO Group Pty. Ltd. acquired the assets of The Box Pack Trust, which does business as Boxpack Packaging. The Melbourne-based business specializes in flexographic and lithographic cardboard packaging with a reach in the food and beverage, confectionary, pharmaceutical, industrial and agricultural industries. 
  • Vancouver-based Wildpack Beverage Inc., which specializes in beverage can labeling, co-packing and packaging and supplies, signed a binding agreement last week to acquire KT Murray Corp., which does business as Land and Sea Packaging, in a nearly $37.3 million cash and stock deal. In the transaction, the Canadian firm’s wholly owned Wildpack Holdings US Inc. subsidiary agreed to pay $26.1 million in cash and about 12.6 million common shares of Wildpack beverage stock valued at $1.10 Canadian per share. 
  • Nichols Paper & Supply Co., a Norton Shores-based distributor of paper, industrial packaging and sanitary supplies, has been acquired by Imperial Dade, a New Jersey-based distributor with deep experience in food service packaging and janitorial supplies. The deal marks Imperial Dade’s 43rd acquisition under the leadership of CEO Robert Tillis and President Jason Tillis. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.
  • 42 North Partners, a Grand Rapids-based family office founded and led by former Perrigo CEO Mike Jandernoa and his family, sold fresh produce distributor Vine Line Group LLC to FreshEdge of Indianapolis. Vine Line, which operates from a facility at 1055 7 Mile Road NW in Kent County’s Alpine Township, formed following a three-way merger orchestrated by 42 North Partners in 2019 that included Heeren Bros. Inc., Walsma & Lyons, and Vine Line Logistics LLC. FreshEdge is backed by private equity firm Rotunda Capital Partners.
  • Waséyabek Development Co., the non-gaming arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and Gun Lake Investments, the economic development arm for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, or Gun Lake Tribe, partnered to acquire Zip Xpress Inc. and Green Transportation Inc. The pair of Holland-based trucking firms were started by Dina McKnight-Dargis and Mike Dargis. Grand Rapids-based DWH LLC will manage the company for the tribes, which previously partnered in 2020 on the $17.5 million acquisition of McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Chicago-based private equity firm CORE Industrial Partners LLC has formed a new additive manufacturing platform with the acquisition of three Grand Rapids businesses: 3DXTECH LLC and Triton 3D LLC, both providers of 3D printing filaments and filament services, and Gearbox 3D LLC, which offers industrial-grade, open-source 3D printing machines. Gearbox 3D also offers in-house 3D printer assembly, testing and maintenance. The three companies already share one 68,000-square-foot facility at 904 36th St. in Grand Rapids.
  • Global office furniture maker Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) has acquired Spain-based Viccarbe Habitat S.L., one of its longtime collaborative design partners, in a $35 million all cash deal.
    Viccarbe Habitat S.L. is a designer of contemporary furniture for social spaces within industries that include hospitality, education and corporate. The deal, which Steelcase funded with cash on hand, includes an additional consideration of up to $22 million payable to the sellers over five years based on hitting certain performance targets.
  • Holland accounting and consulting firm De Boer, Baumann & Co. PLC is merging with Netwerks LLC to form an entity known as DB&C NetWerks LLC. Based also in Holland, NetWerks provides I.T. services to small and medium-sized businesses. DeBoer, Baumann & Co. has offices in Holland, Grand Haven and South Haven and a staff of 40 employees, which includes six partners.
  • Computer Rescue 911, a Kentwood-based residential and small business computer solutions and repair company founded in 2007, has sold to investor David Vanderzwaag. Vanderzwaag also owns TechVZ. 


  • Frozen food processor Request Foods Inc. is planning a $205 million expansion in an effort to meet rising demand while diversifying its products and services. The Michigan Strategic Fund board recently approved an incentive package that defrays more than $10 million in costs associated with the project. The Holland Township-based company expects to create up to 198 jobs. The transformational project features four components, including an $81 million expansion planned for its existing 300,000-square-foot facility at 12875 Greenly St. Request Foods also plans to expand its warehousing capabilities with 157,000 square feet of additional cold storage space and build a new production plant for ready-to-eat (RTE) meals.
  • Architecture and engineering firm TowerPinkster is expanding its West Michigan presence with plans for an office at 1 S. Harbor Drive in downtown Grand Haven. The new location is set to open in January to meet the company’s goal of serving lakeshore communities. The new office is TowerPinkster’s latest growth move following its recent acquisition of Indiana-based Kovert Hawkins Architects Inc. and its two offices in Jeffersonville, Ind. and Louisville, Ky. 
  • The owner of southern-style restaurant The Candied Yam LLC is eyeing an expansion with a new banquet hall and restaurant along South Division Avenue in Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Planning Commission recently approved the special land use request for a banquet hall that allows alcohol service in the existing 7,000-square-foot building at 932 S. Division Ave. The space was formerly occupied by Club Tequila. Conceptual plans call for a restaurant component in part of the building with an occupancy of about 96 people, as well as a banquet area that could accommodate 218 people. Plans also call for upgrades to the 73-space parking lot on the site.
  • Grand Rapids-based Mercantile Bank Corp. has expanded further into the northern Lower Peninsula with the opening of a lending office in Petoskey on Oct. 26. The move follows the addition of veteran residential mortgage loan officers Jon Lyons and Bryan Leavitt last spring.
  • A music school that operates under the same name and a similar style to the movie “School of Rock” is coming to Grand Rapids. School of Rock was started as a single school in Philadelphia in 1998 and now has more than 500 locations, including five in Michigan. The school will offer music education programs for students of all ages. Renovation work has begun on the future Grand Rapids School of Rock location at 2505 Burton St. SE. Kentwood-based First Companies Inc. is renovating the 4,100-square-foot space, which is expected to open in December 2021.
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