MiBiz Growth Report: September 12, 2022

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for September 12, 2022:

Mergers & Acquisitions

  • The Huizenga groupa private investment firm based in Grand Rapids, has strengthened its capabilities in the automation sector with an agreement with the supplier based in Madison Heights Bulldog Factory Service LLC. Formerly part of Madison Heights Santanna Tool & Design Co., Bulldog Factory Service has additional operations in North Carolina and Mexico. The company provides automated and welding systems, conveyors, design and simulation services, and labor reduction projects and kits. The Huizenga Group provides management services to a diverse group of companies in the fields of tooling and dies, pharmaceutical packaging, machined metal parts, electrical and high-end automotive component manufacturing. technicality. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Bulldog was advised by Phil Gilbert of East Bay Councilors. The deal for Bulldog marks the second transaction involving an automation company in the past five months for Huizenga Group. In April, the company acquired the Grand Haven-based company Churchill Technologies LLC, designer of special assembly and test equipment.
  • Keller Ford Inc.which operates a 52,000 square foot store at 3385 Alpine Ave. NW to Walker, was acquired by LaFontaine Automotive Group LLC, marking the Southeast Michigan company’s entry into the Grand Rapids metro market. The company views the western Michigan region as an opportunity for growth, according to CEO Ryan LaFontaine, who called the market a “tremendous opportunity for continued growth.” LaFontaine Automotive Group has acquired 17 Michigan locations over the past five years, including four acquisitions in 2021. The Keller Ford dealership is the fourth Ford store in LaFontaine Automotive Group’s portfolio. The Highland, Oakland County-based dealership group operates 52 retail franchises in 30 retail locations across Michigan. LaFontaine Automotive Group will rebrand the Walker location as LaFontaine Ford of Grand Rapids. The terms of the contract are not disclosed.
  • Crain Communications Inc. acquired the Grand Rapids Business Journal of Troy Gemini Media LLC, publication officials announced last month. Crain Communications — a Detroit-based private media company with a portfolio of business and trade publications — said the deal helps it expand its reach in West Michigan and connect its publications in Chicago and Detroit. The company’s urban brands also operate publications in Cleveland and New York. According to a statement on the agreement, GRBJ will continue to operate as a separate media outlet and will “leverage additional content and advertising resources from the City of Crain’s brands.” GRBJ’s team of 10 reporters and business executives will continue to publish. Four years ago, in Troy TIME Media LLC acquired Gemini Publications, the former owner of GRBJ, and formed Gemini Media LLC.
  • Editing Inc., a provider of residential furniture, jewelry and watch protection plans, sold to One80 Intermediaries Inc., a Boston-based specialty insurance broker. The deal included subsidiaries Montage Furniture Services and Montage Jewelry Care, which provide insurance plans and warranties directly to consumers and through point-of-sale, according to a statement. Montage’s insurance plans include traditional common risk protection and captive/reinsurance programs. The company got its start over 40 years ago offering traditional furniture protection plans. For One80, the transaction strengthens the company’s warranty business, which it first entered in 2020 with the acquisition of Safeware.
  • Backed by private equity AGS Automotive Solutions LLC, a manufacturer of automotive aftermarket parts, has acquired a California-based manufacturer and distributor of tools and equipment for automobiles and motorcycles. By acquiring Gilroy, Calif.-based Motive Products from co-owners Eric Leicher and Marco Romani, AGS will add a complementary line of equipment to its portfolio. Motive Products, which has been in business for 24 years, manufactures the Power Bleeder line of equipment, which is used by professional racers and enthusiasts to bleed brake lines. AGS, based in Norton Shores, also sees the deal for Motive Products as the first of several acquisitions the platform aims to close by the end of the year. AGS was founded in 1931 as American Grease Stick Co. Since 2016, the company has been a holding company of Capital of the 3 Riversa Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based private equity firm that acquired the Rosen family business for $10 million, according to reports at the time.


  • SnackCraft LLCa manufacturer of natural snack foods owned by the Greek company Unismack SA, will invest nearly $42 million to establish a US headquarters in Kentwood. The company will retrofit a vacant Kerry Foods facility for new equipment and machinery and plans to create up to 185 jobs with the project, its first in North America despite its global presence. The Michigan Strategic Fund awarded the company a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the project. SnackCraft considered a competitor site in Chicago, according to state officials. The Kentwood plant, located at 4444 52nd St. SE, will be a co-packer and contract manufacturer of baked crackers, tortilla chips, single and twin screw extruded snacks and pelleted snacks. In addition to manufacturing, the site will also include R&D facilities and provide warehousing and some third-party logistics for its customers. Unismack founder and CEO Dimitrios Stratakis said the Grand Rapids area “seemed like an obvious choice” to expand the company’s manufacturing capacity in the United States.


  • Harmony Hall will close on the west side of Grand Rapids as owners of Harmony Brewing Co. LLC plan to move brewing production to another site to “maximize” distribution. The company, owned by siblings Heather, Barry and Jackson Van Dyke, said it would close the 401 Stocking Ave site. NW after ArtPrize this year and would move its brewing operations to an offsite production facility only. The company’s original site in Eastown will remain open. Harmony Hall was launched in 2015 as a satellite site to help the brewery meet the demand for beer production. However, the owners now say the Harmony Hall facility lacks the space the company needs for “large-scale production, so we had to make the difficult choice to move”.


  • Tall Timbers Portage LLCa developer company The Hinman Company. and AVB Construction LLC co-founder Joseph Gesmundo, has received state approval for $4.7 million in brownfield incentives to build a four-story, 180-unit apartment development in the town of Portage. The Michigan Strategic Fund approved incentives for the Tall Timbers project at 3413 W. Center Avenue, a former landfill site. The City of Portage is supporting the project through a portion of the local tax recovery from the Brownfields Plan, valued at $6.4 million. The city has identified Tall Timbers as a priority because it will help meet housing needs driven in part by expansion projects by nearby businesses, including Stryker Corp. and Pfizer Inc. Ten percent of housing will be reserved for households earning between 80 and 120 percent of income. median income in the region.

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