Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: October 11, 2020

BY Sunday, October 11, 2020 09:08am

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for October 11, 2020.


  • A Grand Rapids-area manufacturer of air distribution products for both residential and commercial HVAC clients has changed ownership. Hart & Cooley LLC — which was previously owned by Johnson Controls International plc — was recently acquired by Miami-based global private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, which will now operate it as its own entity. Hart & Cooley — which manufactures grilles, registers, diffusers, flex air duct systems, air filtration components, chimneys systems and other components — will maintain its headquarters at 5030 Corporate Exchange Blvd. SE, near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.
  • DeWys Manufacturing Inc. of Marne announced that it has acquired Grand Haven-based metal fabricator ReFab LLC. DeWys Manufacturing, established in 1977 as a one-person metal shop, provides custom
    metal fabrication services. In a formal announcement of the deal, DeWys Manufacturing said the acquisition would allow it to expand its core capabilities — cutting, forming and welding — while also facilitating
    quicker turnaround times and the ability to meet the evolving needs of both current and future clients.
  • UFP Industries (NASDAQ: UFPI) — formerly known as Universal Forest Products Inc. — announced that its UFP Retail Solutions business segment acquired Matthew, N.C.-based Fire Retardant Chemical Technologies LLC (FRCT), which develops fire retardants and water repellents. Founded in 2014, FRCT found a niche in new and cost-efficient technologies for wood preservation. The company amassed $6.4 million in sales in 2019.
  • Small Business Deal Advisors of Grand Rapids worked with Ludington-based Foam Works, a young business specializing in spray foam and cellulose insulation, on a sale of the company to an individual investor. Foam Works was founded in 2017 by Dann and Julie Van Dyke, who together own property maintenance and construction company Cottage Works. The couple ultimately decided to sell Foam Works in order to focus on their other business. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.


  • Two West Michigan affordable housing projects have secured $1.9 million in a recent funding round from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. MSHDA awarded a total of $17.8 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to 17 projects across the state that create or rehabilitate rental properties for affordable housing projects. The federal tax credits awarded by MSHDA allow developers to draw from their tax credit annually for 10 years. Samaritas Affordable Living in Muskegon received $1.02 million for 53 apartment units, and Belknap Place in Grand Rapids received $906,067 in funding to construct 50 apartments.


  • A Grand Rapids-based capital fund that will invest nationally in second-stage companies owned by minorities has secured commitments now totaling $6.25 million, with potentially millions more on the way. Nearly $17 million in additional commitments are “in the final stages of the pipeline as well” for the New Community Transformation Fund LP, according to Managing Partner Skot Welch. If finalized and secured, the prospective investors in the pipeline would bring the New Community Transformation Fund close to a goal to raise up to $25 million.
  • Grand Angels President Tim Parker has stepped down to run a community foundation in Wisconsin. Parker started Oct. 5 as president and CEO of the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin in Wasau, Wisc. He’ll continue to assist the Grand Rapids-based Grand Angels, one of the most active angel investor groups in the Midwest, during the transition to new leadership. Parker, 52, recently became a grandfather and the foundation
    position moves him closer to family in Wisconsin. The position also allows him to pursue an interest in philanthropy and “putting all of my full-time efforts into making a difference that’s going to impact communities locally in the long term,” Parker said.
  • Conquer Accelerator, a business accelerator run by the Michigan State University Foundation, has selected its first five cohort companies in Grand Rapids. Each of the five received $20,000 in seed funding and will go through a 10-week virtual business accelerator course this fall. The program also provides entrepreneurship training, mentorship, access to follow-on funding and other services. The five companies chosen for the Grand Rapids program are Airway Innovations, Building Catalyst, FirstIgnite, Lawnbot and The Patient Co.


  • Mercy Health Muskegon is finalizing the third and final phase of construction and renovation on the 10-story medical center at its Sherman Boulevard Mercy Campus. The project will move Trauma II Emergency Care from Hackley Hospital to the Mercy Campus’s Fazakerley Family Emergency Center. The Hackley Emergency Department will become an urgent care center and operate seven days a week for walk-in medical care for non-emergency minor illness and injuries such as sprains, wounds requiring stitches, rashes and illnesses such as cold and flu. The final phase of the Mercy Campus comes Oct. 19, when the Mercy Health Birth Center and the 10th floor medical surgical facility are fully open.
  • Hamburger Marys is set to open its first Michigan location later this month near Grand Rapids, bringing with it the karaoke, drag shows and drag queen bingo the restaurant franchise is known for. Local operators Doug Hanchett and Tom Zarkowski planned to open the first of two Hamburger Mary’s Michigan locations in Ypsilanti, but the focus shifted to Grand Rapids after pandemic-related complications. The restaurant — a staple in the LGBTQ community for decades — is set to open Oct. 28 at 6240 28th St. SE in Cascade Township.
  • Online retail giant Amazon.com Inc. is proposing a 113,000-square-foot package sorting and delivery facility in Walker, just north of I-96. According to documents filed with the Walker Planning Commission, the delivery and warehouse facility would include 1,098 parking spaces for employees and delivery vehicles, while the project would require “significant new public road construction.”


  • Davenport University expanded its mental health offerings with Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services to include free counseling to students at all campuses in Michigan. Pine Rest offers the fall semester counseling through teletherapy. Davenport expects on-site appointments on the Lettinga Campus to resume in January. Pine Rest will provide assessment and treatment services to students including therapy at all university locations, drop-in appointments at the W.A. Lettinga Campus, training, support groups and group therapy, consultation and referral services and crisis response and support.


  • Spectrum Health formed a partnership with the developer of a meditation and mindfulness app to offer its 31,000 employees a free subscription. Under the pilot, Spectrum Health also makes the Headspace app available for more than 30 local school districts at no cost to administrators. Headspace provides users content and videos on stress and anxiety, work and productivity, and improving sleep. Spectrum Health said it plans to “greatly expand” access to the app during the fall.
  • Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing Inc. will produce a COVID-19 vaccine under development by a Belgian pharmaceutical company. Under an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. — which is owned by New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson — Grand River Aseptic will fill and finish the vaccine candidate that’s now in a Phase 3 clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine dose compared to a placebo in preventing COVID-19.
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