Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: September 27, 2020

BY Sunday, September 27, 2020 08:55am

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for September 27, 2020.


  • Grand Rapids-based M&A firm Calder Capital recently announced the sale of a Battle Creek-area manufacturing company, which was sold to individual investor Tom Tilma. Calder Capital served as the advisor for Integrated Manufacturing Concepts, which is located in Ceresco, southeast east of Battle Creek. The company manufactures tube fabrication and bending products, serving a variety of different industries. Terms of the sale were undisclosed.
  • Traverse City-based High Street Insurance Partners acquired insurance agencies Tracy, Driscoll & Co. Inc. in Bristol, Conn., and Millennium Alliance Group LLC in Long Island, New York. Since forming in 2018 with backing from Detroit private equity firm Huron Capital, High Street Insurance Partners has completed 15 acquisitions and continues to pursue an acquisition strategy.
  • Grand Rapids-based snack food maker Cheeze Kurls Inc. was acquired by a Florida private investment firm. Former Cheeze Kurls co-owners — President Timothy Dedinas and Vice President Robert Franzak — retained a minority ownership and remain in advisory roles with the company. Kilroy Partners of Boca Raton, Fla. invests across a variety of sectors in entrepreneurial, family-owned and non-institutionally controlled businesses in the lower middle market.  In an announcement, Franzak described Kilroy Partners as the right buyer for Cheeze Kurls. Previous potential buyers have proposed closing the plant and moving operations out of state, though Kilroy Partners will maintain the company’s Grand Rapids operations, Franzak said.
  • A long-standing New Buffalo ice cream and yogurt shop Oink’s Dutch Treat has been sold to an individual investor. Grand Rapids-based Small Business Deal Advisors navigated the deal for Roger Vink, the former owner of the shop for 34 years, which features a variety of ice cream flavors in addition to memorabilia. The shop’s buyer is Michael Schimanski. “It is a fantastic business, and I look forward to continuing operations in the same manner that visitors have loved for years,” he said in a statement.
  • Grand Rapids Engineering consultant Foresight Management has acquired a long-standing pioneer in the realm of sustainable business practices. Foresight, which specializes in the area of energy management, closed on its acquisition of Sustainable Research Group, which was founded by Bill Stough, the inaugural inductee of the Michigan Sustainable Business Hall of Fame.
  • Grand Rapids-based office technology solutions provider Applied Imaging has grown its presence in Florida through a recent acquisition. Applied Imaging — which offers services including copier and printer sales, document management, managed I.T. services and document shredding — recently acquired Upstream Office Solutions, which is headquartered in Tampa Bay. The acquisition gives Applied Imaging a total of 14 offices spread throughout Michigan, Ohio and Florida. Terms of the deal, which was finalized in late August, were undisclosed.


  • Comerica Bank contributed $112,000 to Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW) to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses. The contribution supports GROW’s work to provide capital, financial resources and technical assistance to small businesses as they recover and reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. GROW and Comerica since June also have partnered to provide technical services to small business owners through Business $ense Boot Camp events.

Higher Ed 

  • Davenport University extended eligibility for the Launch Scholarship that was created in March for people unemployed, laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19. The scholarship offers up to $8,000 per year for 30 credit hours for up to four years to earn a graduate degree, finish a bachelor’s degree or take professional development classes. Davenport accepts scholarship applications until Jan. 11, 2021.


  • Grand Haven-based UV Angel added manufacturing capacity for the UV Angel Clean Air product line that neutralizes airborne pathogens through an agreement with Corning, N.Y.-based Corning Inc. Initially designed to address health care associated infections, the technology has been adapted for settings such as retail, restaurants, commercial real estate, schools, hotels, and other industries.
  • Office furniture manufacturer Steelcase Inc. continues to face headwinds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as customers are slow to return to normal order patterns given the disruption the public health crisis has caused to traditional workspaces. The company reported a $577 million backlog of customer orders, 8 percent lower than this time a year ago. Orders declined an average of 38 percent during the first three weeks of September compared to the prior year, including by 41 percent in the Americas. Given that tough operating environment, Steelcase’s quarterly revenues fell 18 percent to $818.8 million, compared to $998 million a year ago.

Real Estate & Development 

  • The owner of two industrial properties in West Michigan has launched a new joint venture with a boutique Saudi investment firm to take ownership of the commercial real estate. In the deal, Rosemont, Ill.-based Brennan Investment Group established a joint venture equity partnership with Saudi Arabia-based investment firm Arbah Capital to acquire 557,000 square feet of light industrial and flex space in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. The five industrial properties include 5460 Executive Parkway in Cascade Charter Township, which is occupied by Tesla Tool and Die, and 1865 Industrial Drive in Grand Haven, which is occupied by Lakeshore Fittings Inc. The portfolio includes a mix of tenants in the automotive, manufacturing and the telecommunications industries. 
  • The Michigan Strategic Fund recently approved a 10-year Renaissance Zone tax abatement for Gerber Products Co.’s $36 million expansion at its Fremont facility. The investment will support new product lines to advance production of Gerber melts, which are freeze-dried snacks made with yogurt and fruit. The snacks are designed to melt in a baby’s mouth, and are one of the fastest growing segments in the company’s snack portfolio with 15 percent growth year to date. The Renaissance Zone is expected to save the company up to $6.5 million in taxes over the 10-year period.
  • A federal grant will pay for an analysis on how groups that support entrepreneurs and startup companies in West Michigan can adjust for when the economy emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Grand Valley State University’s Innovation Hub in Muskegon plans to match the $68,250 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration with $17,000 to fund a study that will look at existing entrepreneurial support along the Lake Michigan shoreline and identify service gaps. The initiative aims to alter support for entrepreneurs as they have had to adjust their own business plans amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Health Care

  • Ascension Borgess named Rob Mach administrator at Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital. He joins Allegan Hospital on Oct. 12 after serving four years as CEO of Select Specialty Hospital - Battle Creek, a 25-bed long-term acute care facility.


  • Grand Rapids law firm Warner Norcross + Judd LLP hired Paul Boehms as executive director. Boehms has two decades of operations, finance and leadership experience and will provide strategic direction and oversight of the law firm’s day-to-day operations. The firm has more than 230 attorneys practicing in 14 industry groups and 27 specialized practice areas at eight offices across Michigan. Boehms most recently served as business director for two business units at Clark Hill.
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