Joe Boomgaard

Joe Boomgaard

Editor, covers craft beverage industry.
Twitter: @jboomgaard
Email: [email protected]

Friday, 05 January 2018 15:42

Gentex founder Fred Bauer retires as CEO

Gentex Corp. founder, Chairman and CEO Fred Bauer has retired effective Dec. 31, ending a more than 40-year career with the automotive supplier, the company announced today in a regulatory filing.

Restaurateur Jeff Lobdell’s expanding enterprise includes Bagel Beanery, Beltline Bar, Sundance Grill, Grand Coney, The Omelette Shoppe, Rockwell Republic and more across West Michigan and the Traverse City area. While Lobdell remains optimistic for the future of his growing company, which this year acquired Pete’s Grill & Tavern and the 84th Street Market in Byron Center, he said the restaurant industry needs to adapt to new challenges from technology and a shortage of service workers.

Next year, Michigan voters will elect the person who will become the fifth governor that The Right Place CEO Birgit Klohs has worked with in her career in economic development. While her organization is “agnostic” when it comes to who wins the election, Klohs hopes to continue to have a strong working relationship with the new chief executive and that the new governor continues to support the efforts of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Sunday, 24 December 2017 16:38

2018 Outlook: Jim Monterusso, HME Inc.

The news footage in recent weeks about wildfires raging across Southern California showed an unlikely West Michigan connection: Wyoming-based HME Inc. made many of the fire trucks used to fight the blazes. President Jim Monterusso said the company, which recently finished the first of six custom fire trucks for the city of Detroit, has strong demand for its products, although many municipalities struggle to find the funding they need to upgrade their safety equipment.

North American light vehicle sales should dip this year to around 17.1 million units, breaking a streak of seven consecutive year-over-year gains, according to Mike Wall of IHS Markit. But while he expects the market to contract further to around 16.9 million units next year, Wall believes the automotive supply chain is positioned to thrive.

Contract manufacturer Medbio Inc. in Grand Rapids provides injection molding, assembly and packaging for medical device and biotech customers, and owns Concept Molds, a tool and die shop in Schoolcraft. The company, which employs about 190 people, is bracing for what’s expected to be a big year of growth in 2018.

Federal tax reform could act as a catalyst to fuel corporate growth in 2018 and beyond, according to John Kennedy, the president of Autocam Medical, a global contract manufacturer of orthopedic implants, spinal implants, orthopedic cutting tools and other medical device components. “This tax reform will free cash flow from the lower taxes and unlock capital held outside the U.S.,” said Kennedy, who thinks the domestic economy will grow rapidly next year at a pace it hasn’t seen in a decade. 

When Brad Davis looks ahead to 2018, he gets very excited about the future of his company, Zeeland-based Industrial Woodworking Corp.

ZEELAND — A federal judge ordered Boersen Farms Inc. to pay more than $19.5 million to a Cottonwood Heights, Utah-based firm it leased equipment from over a two-year period.

A Chicago-area maker of spirits alleges in federal court that a Grand Rapids-based distillery is infringing on its trademark with the planned launch of a new rye whiskey.

Sunday, 12 November 2017 16:04

MiBiz Growth Report: Nov. 13, 2017

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Nov. 13, 2017: 

• M&A: Wabash, Ind.-based Martin Yale Industries LLC, a portfolio company of Grand Rapids-based private equity firm LV2 Equity Partners LLC, acquired Dry-Lam LLC of Shawnee, Kan., according to a statement. The transaction marked the second bolt-on acquisition for Martin Yale, a manufacturer of print finishing, office and mailroom equipment. Dry-Lam is a distributor of laminating equipment and films to the office product and commercial print finishing industries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Dry-Lam’s distribution center will be relocated to Martin Yale’s Indiana facility.

Many executives at companies in West Michigan’s medical device supply chain came out of the automotive industry only to find they’re facing all-too-familiar challenges in their current roles.

A farmer owned and operated hop grower in northern Kent County has acquired a nearby operation whose owners were looking to move into their next phase of life.

Boersen Farms Inc., the Zeeland-based farming company that flirted with bankruptcy, is no longer under the control of a court-appointed receiver.

With $562 million in cash on its balance sheet, automotive supplier Gentex Corp. continues to be on the hunt for acquisition opportunities that can help bolster its technology portfolio.

The active mergers and acquisitions market shows no signs of slowing down for the foreseeable future. 

The family-owned Middleville Tool & Die Co. found itself in a precarious position in the last couple of years leading up to December 2016. 

For its first acquisition following the transformational deal that created SpartanNash Co., the grocery retailer and distributor opted to buy a company that positioned it in a related high-growth market.

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan investment company has completed the first in what it hopes to be a string of acquisitions of independent, regional seed producers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — As the craft beer industry continues to grow, it’s contributing to more economic activity in Michigan, both within the sector and its expanding supply chain. 

A West Michigan farm operator that’s facing a string of financial issues has been sued by agricultural giant Monsanto Co. for breach of contract.

A West Michigan craft brewery wants to open a satellite taproom and production-scale facility at the former MC Sports store on Plainfield Avenue near the I-96 interchange.

Two years after acquiring a 51-percent stake in Virtue Cider, an entity tied to global brewing conglomerate Anheuser Busch LLC has acquired the remainder of the company.

A Chicago-area real estate investment firm has purchased the Tesla Tool and Die plant in Grand Rapids as part of a multi-state, 11-building portfolio, MiBiz has learned.

GRAND RAPIDS — When it came time to buyout a business partner, Fish Lads of Grand Rapids Inc. founder and part owner Jeff Butzow turned to another local grocery executive with extensive experience.

Pigeon Hill Brewing Co. wants to change up its operations and presence in downtown Muskegon.

Matt Michiels has known for the last two years that he needed to expand his growing West Michigan craft brewery.

With strong cash flow in the first half of the year and backed by a positive outlook for the rest of 2017, executives at Wolverine World Wide Inc. are getting aggressive in pursuing new growth opportunities.

MUSKEGON — A startup business on the lakeshore is helping craft brewers globally to diversify the mix of packaged products they can sell via their taprooms.

A family farming and trucking operation in Southwest Michigan is restructuring its finances through Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection, according to a filing Wednesday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan.