Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: November 8, 2020

BY Sunday, November 08, 2020 09:58am

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for November 8, 2020.


  • Building products dealer and manufacturer Zeeland Lumber & Supply Co. has been acquired by one of the largest specialty building product distributors in the country. Illinois-based US LBM Holdings LLC announced its acquisition of Zeeland Lumber & Supply, which operates three manufacturing facilities and three building material yards scattered throughout Michigan and Northern Indiana. US LBM will now operate 16 locations in Michigan after the acquisition.
  • Nationwide engineering and environmental consulting firm Barr Engineering Co., which has offices in Kentwood and Ann Arbor, has acquired Grand Rapids-based King & MacGregor Environmental Inc. Barr Engineering is an employee-owned company headquartered in Minneapolis. King & MacGregor specializes in natural resource consulting and environmental services, particularly wetland and water body assessments, the design of constructed wetlands and environmental reviews and permitting.
  • Grand Rapids-based private equity firm Auxo Investment Partners continued its investment in cutting die manufacturers with a recent acquisition. The firm announced it has acquired GC Dies, a steel rule die cutting manufacturer with a 37,500-square-foot facility in the Chicago area. The Elmhurst, Ill.-based manufacturer, which has 50 employees on staff, specializes in flat corrugated, rotary corrugated and flat steel rule die production.


  • Metro Health – University of Michigan Health has opened an office in Hudsonville exclusively for pediatric care. Dr. Caitlin Mlynarek and Dr. Kurt Meppelink moved from Metro Health’s Hudsonville office on 32nd Street to the new pediatrics office at 2917 Port Sheldon St., which is designed specifically for a pediatrics practice and “to put children at ease and help them be comfortable talking about their health,” Mlynarek said.
  • The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute has named Vanessa Greene as CEO. Greene started this month as leader of the organization, which works to address racial and ethnic disparities in health care. She joins GRAAHI from Hope College, where she held leadership positions spanning nearly 17 years that focused on diversity and inclusion. Greene most recently served as Hope College’s associate dean of students and director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, where she led strategic vision, planning and the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts with a focus on the well-being of students, faculty and staff of color.
  • Mount Prospect. Ill.-based Weil Foot & Ankle Institute, a large podiatry practice that has 21 clinic locations in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, acquired Foot and Ankle Specialists of West Michigan PLLC in Grand Rapids. Foot and Ankle Specialists of West Michigan has nine physicians at six clinics in the region.
  • Stryker Corp.’s sales and earnings rebounded in the third quarter after falling sharply in the prior three months and early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kalamazoo-based Stryker (NYSE: SYK) on Thursday reported $3.73 billion in sales for the July-through-September period, a 4.2-percent increase from the $3.58 billion in the same quarter last year. Stryker recorded quarterly net income of $621 million, or $1.63 per diluted share. That compares to $466 million in net income, or $1.23 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2019.


  • Mercantile Bank moved into Ohio with the opening of a Cincinnati mortgage lending office. The move into the Cincinnati mortgage market is the first time the Grand Rapids-based bank has operated any office outside of Michigan. The move comes as the bank has enjoyed strong growth in its mortgage business this year, driven in part by low interest rates that have led many people to refinance. 


  • Home furnishings retailer Loves Furniture & Mattresses opened two Grand Rapids-area locations on 28th Street SE and on Alpine Avenue in Comstock Park. A Loves location in Norton Shores opened last month.


  • Chief executives expect the state and U.S. economies to stabilize or perform better in the months ahead and continue to rebound from sharp pandemic-related declines in the spring. More than eight in 10 of the Business Leaders for Michigan members surveyed recently said they expect the U.S. economy to either stay the same or improve in the next six to 12 months. Nearly 80 percent expect the same for Michigan’s economy. That’s a reversal from the last Business Leaders for Michigan outlook survey in July when more than half of respondents expected the state and nation to worsen economically.
  • As part of a series of nationwide projects to improve rural water infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an $18 million investment to modernize wastewater infrastructure in Manistee. The city plans to upgrade the interceptor, construct an above-ground equalization tank and invest in other improvements at the wastewater treatment plant.


  • Western Michigan University will cut ties with Cooley Law School, ending an affiliation that began seven years ago and was supposed to lead to further joint programs. Citing how “hopes have not been realized,” university trustees last week unanimously agreed to terminate a 2013 affiliation agreement with the Lansing-based law school. The approval triggers a three-year process to formally end the law school’s affiliation with WMU, as required under the original agreement.
  • The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) has been awarded $28 million by the U.S. Department of Education. The grant, which equates to $4 million per year for seven years, is for Michigan Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (MI GEAR UP), which focuses on increasing the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education. The program includes college exposure, information on financial aid and admissions, and help to build critical thinking, test taking and study skills.


  • Woodland Mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as mall tenants across the company’s portfolio have struggled to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. PREIT (NYSE:PEI) and CBL & Associates Properties Inc., which owns Laurel Park Place in Livonia and Meridian Mall in Okemos, both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 2.
  • The operator of Max’s South Seas Hideaway — a downtown Grand Rapids tiki bar owned by former BarFly Ventures LLC President Mark Sellers III — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s the third set of bankruptcies associated with Sellers filed within the past five months as his current and former restaurants and bars accumulated debt following the pandemic-related shutdowns. Authentiki LLC and wholly owned subsidiary MSSH LLC each filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 29 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Michigan.
  • Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged some segments of the manufacturing industry, Albion-based Velocity Manufacturing LLC has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company, which features four different divisions, filed its petition with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan on Oct. 23. The filing shows plummeting revenue paired with mounting debt.
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