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Helminski closes transformative $100M Michigan Opportunity Fund for Auxo
Jeff Helminski of Auxo Investment Partners was sitting in his downtown Grand Rapids office in May 2020, during the early days of the pandemic, when his phone rang with a cold call from a prospective investment partner.
GR-based data center, fiber network operator US Signal sells to Australian fund manager
GRAND RAPIDS — Data center operator, I.T. solutions provider and fiber network owner US Signal Co. LLC has completed a sale to global investment manager Igneo Infrastructure Partners.
Meritage expects ‘transformational growth’ for 2023 amid continued M&A, new restaurant openings
GRAND RAPIDS — Franchise restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. leveraged new store openings and price increases to deliver record sales for 2022.
Ford battery plant deal demonstrates West Michigan’s ‘cohesive industry cluster’ in EV technology
Ford Motor Co.’s plans to invest $3.5 billion to build an electric vehicle battery plant near Marshall came as good news to economic developers across West Michigan.
Buell partners with West Coast motorcycle designer on new Super Cruiser model
CASCADE TWP. — Fresh off a new round of fundraising, Buell Motorcycle Co. has unveiled a partnership with a well-known industry designer to launch a new Super Cruiser production concept for the West Michigan-based high-performance brand.
Wolverine divests Keds brand to retailer DSW’s parent company
ROCKFORD — Not even a multi-year sponsorship deal with pop megastar Taylor Swift could right the ship for Keds, a flagging lifestyle footwear brand that Wolverine World Wide Inc. has owned for the last decade.
Shyft Group plans $16M expansion near Lansing to produce EV delivery vans
CHARLOTTE — Specialty vehicle manufacturer The Shyft Group Inc. plans to invest $16 million to expand its engineering and manufacturing capabilities in Charlotte to produce the company’s Blue Arc EV Solutions brand of electric commercial vehicles.
MINNOW SWALLOWS WHALE: Werkman Outfitters acquires longtime Muskegon River fly fishing guide service
GRAND HAVEN — A growing family-owned fishing guide service on the Grand River is expanding its focus to the north with a deal to acquire RiverQuest Charters, a longtime fly fishing outfitter on the Muskegon River.
West Michigan startup selected for Gordon Food Service-backed accelerator program
A new venture from West Michigan serial entrepreneur Garrick Pohl has been selected to join a Chicago-based accelerator program launched by Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service and its innovation and investment arm Relish Works.
Market unpredictability leads Gun Lake Investments to boost due diligence, forecasting
As tribally owned Gun Lake Investments dives into planning for a massive redevelopment project along U.S. 131 north of Gun Lake Casino, the non-gaming investment arm of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, or Gun Lake Tribe, also is revisiting its overall strategic plan. CEO Monica King said emerging market forces could spur GLI to consider different kinds of deals in the years ahead.
Housing, industrial segments buoy West Michigan construction outlook for 2023
Despite a confluence of factors that could challenge project timelines and pro formas, architecture and construction industry insiders remain confident that the fundamentals of the market will continue to drive new activity into the new year.
DeVos-owned MVP Sports Clubs sells Florida-based RDV Sportsplex to Genesis Health Clubs
GRAND RAPIDS — MVP Sports Clubs LLC, a Grand Rapids-based chain of health and athletic facilities that’s owned by RDV Corp., the DeVos family office, has sold its flagship Florida location to national gym operator Genesis Health Clubs.
Auto suppliers prepare for more slow growth, challenges, as forecast begins to brighten
While automotive suppliers in West Michigan may hope to finally emerge from the “dark winter” of the last three years, the vehicle
production outlook for 2023 portends more challenges ahead, although some bright spots are beginning to dot the mid-term forecast.
EDITOR’S LETTER: A breath of fresh air
If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.
That phrase, translated from Latin, forms Michigan’s state motto, and may as well serve as a call to action for the state’s more than 10 million residents and the millions who visit here each year.
Q&A: Continued need for manufacturing automation provides runway for growth
A growing number of West Michigan manufacturers are having conversations about the role automation can play in helping mitigate their persistent and ongoing labor challenges, says Joe Dyer, president at Disher Corp., a Zeeland-based engineering, consulting and product development firm.
Buell Motorcycle plans $6M round to invest in new products, add team members
CASCADE TWP. — The group behind the revival of high-performance brand Buell Motorcycle Co. continues to build out its team, add sales infrastructure and invest in new product engineering and development in West Michigan.
Perrin Brewing Co. partners with Grand Rapids Gold, plans beer garden at Van Andel Arena
GRAND RAPIDS — Alpine Township-based Perrin Brewing Co. plans to open a new beer garden at Van Andel Arena under the terms of a sponsorship deal with the Grand Rapids Gold G-League basketball team.
Feyen Zylstra sells Industrial Tech division to automation integrator ATS Global
WALKER — What started out as a conversation between executives at Feyen Zylstra LLC and ATS Global about deepening their partnership for Industry 4.0 technologies ultimately led to the two companies striking a deal.
Kamps Inc. continues buying spree with strategic acquisition of Iowa pallet company
WALKER — Pallet solutions firm Kamps Inc. is making a strategic deal to acquire Newton, Iowa-based Realm Companies LLC to bolster its presence in the Midwest and expand its service capabilities.
CHANNELING HOPE: DEI consultant Julian Newman helps organizations expand cultural bandwidth
During the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julian Newman became disillusioned with all the back-and-forth arguing that was taking place in commentaries and on social media.
SW Mich. partnership creates new pathway for Native entrepreneurs to launch startups
BENTON HARBOR — A new partnership hopes to improve the technical assistance available to Native American entrepreneurs in Southwest Michigan so they can have an easier time turning their business ideas into new startups and access funding.
Old Mission Peninsula wineries contend zoning rewrite would edge out family farms, create ‘millionaires club’
As Michigan Agritourism Month draws to a close, a group of Northern Michigan wineries are left to wonder why the statewide recognition of the industry’s economic and social benefits continues to escape local policymakers.
Atomic Object expands to North Carolina with 4th office
GRAND RAPIDS — Growing software design and development consultancy Atomic Object LLC has opened its fourth office with a move into the Raleigh, N.C. market.
Feds institute 4-month delay to consider recognizing Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians
GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians will have to wait at least another four months before the tribe hears from the U.S. Department of the Interior about its petition for federal acknowledgement.
Effecting change from the inside: Former tribal investment exec leads national effort to connect minority businesses to capital
In his former role leading Grand Rapids-based Gun Lake Investments, Kurtis Trevan was a vocal critic of the inequities tribally owned firms face when applying for Minority Business Enterprise certifications at the regional level.
Mobile Defenders acquired by industry leader in wholesale mobile device repair parts
GAINES TWP. — Joining forces with its largest competitor will give Mobile Defenders LLC an opportunity to become part of the dominant player in the wholesale mobile device repair parts market with increased economies of scale.
PE-backed Kamps Inc. closes 3 deals in 30 days
WALKER — Pallet solutions firm Kamps Inc. has kicked its dealmaking into high gear over the last month, closing on acquisitions that expand the company’s footprint into Minnesota and deepen its presence in Florida.
Shyft Group secures first pre-orders for electric delivery vans
The Shyft Group Inc.’s Blue Arc EV Solutions brand has secured its first 2,000-unit pre-order for its new line of electric Class 3, 4 and 5 walk-in delivery vans.
Comfort Research co-founder forms PE firm to pursue direct-to-consumer products deals
A Q&A with Matt Jung, founder of Orange Dot Ventures LLC
Muskegon ranks 4th nationally for construction job growth, but workforce challenges persist
Construction employment in the Muskegon metropolitan area grew at the fourth fastest rate nationally from July 2021 to July of this year.