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GRAND RAPIDS — Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist announced today in Grand Rapids that an additional $6 million in grant funding will be available to qualifying students in the Michigan Reconnect program to cover unexpected costs to help students complete their education. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Three years after forming a fund to invest in companies needing growth capital, Charter Capital Partners LLC has begun preparing to start a larger, successor fund.

GRAND RAPIDS — Dr. Paul King is returning to his hometown of Grand Rapids to open the state’s first Black-owned cannabis safety compliance facility.

CADILLAC — Long Road Distillers LLC is shutting down its Cadillac tasting room after a year in business because of staffing challenges.

Business lending remained strong through midyear despite rising interest rates and economic uncertainty that’s generating worries about a potential recession, according to regional banking executives.

GRAND RAPIDS — City commissioners narrowly approved a resolution Tuesday to amend Grand Rapids’ cannabis social equity program and hold off on enforcement until the beginning of 2023.

Emily DeRitter formed Grand Rapids-based wedding coordination company The Best Day Details LLC in late 2019. 

While restaurant owners have warned of impending industry collapse — or at least uncertain operating conditions — of swiftly strengthening the state’s minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements, their workers have welcomed recent developments that they say ensure economic stability.

GRAND RAPIDS — Marketing agency 1 Bold Step LLC has purchased a small office building on Grand Rapids’ west side as company executives gradually return to more in-person work.

BENTON HARBOR — Global appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. has acquired a leading manufacturer of food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers for $3 billion.

A Grand Rapids nonprofit providing independent living services received a boost last week when Kent County voters extended a senior services millage that will help the organization’s recently launched technology support program.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority has unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Grand Action 2.0 for the construction of an amphitheater in downtown Grand Rapids.

Legislation similar to bills that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed in 2020 involving the taxation of commercial solar energy developments was reintroduced this summer with changes to gain broader support from local governments.

Heartland Home Services LLC, a private equity-backed HVAC, plumbing and electrical home service provider, has added a second Wisconsin-based firm to its portfolio of companies in recent months.

The cycling event that Bob Hughes co-founded nearly a decade ago returns in 2023 with a new name and under management by a Grand Rapids company that’s built a portfolio of endurance athletic events in Michigan.

HOLLAND — City of Holland voters narrowly approved a $30 million proposal to build out a publicly owned, fiber broadband internet network. 

A Zeeland furniture startup that seeks to play into the growing home office trend has secured $1.5 million in capital from investors around Michigan.

A New York investment firm has acquired Burke Porter Group Co., an Ada-based producer of automated diagnostic, testing and production equipment for the life science, automotive, aerospace and other specialty industrial markets.

Multiple highway corridors through West Michigan would land high-speed electric vehicle charging stations in the coming years under a plan submitted last week for federal infrastructure funding.

BHSH System, the parent corporation of Spectrum Health in West Michigan and the largest in-state health system, will “continue to provide reproductive health care to our communities” as a legal case continues on a 91-year-old law banning most abortions in Michigan.

The trade group representing more than 15,000 Michigan physicians is raising concerns for its members following a state Court of Appeals ruling allowing county prosecutors to pursue criminal charges in most abortion cases under a 1931 law.

Michigan employers will have at least six months to prepare for an increase to the state’s minimum wage and stronger paid sick leave requirements following a Friday court ruling that brought swift applause from restaurant owners.

A recently formed Grand Rapids investment fund supporting entrepreneurs of color is serving as a model for a similar effort in Colorado, while fund organizers say the effort could be replicated in even more U.S. cities.

The Industry 4.0 transition depends on male-dominated fields like computer science and engineering, potentially causing a disproportionate effect on women seeking to enter the field. 

Leaders behind a Grand Rapids investment fund formed to support entrepreneurs of color hope a similar venture in Colorado becomes the first of multiple funds that replicate the model across the country.

GRAND RAPIDS — Attorneys are disputing whether a Thursday Michigan Supreme Court ruling banning discrimination based on sexual orientation still allows a Grand Rapids wedding venue to not host same-sex marriages.


  • Walstrom Marine Inc., a Harbor Springs-based yacht sales and service company and marina operator acquired last year by Continuum Ventures LLC, the family office for Doug and Maria DeVos, has expanded into southeast Michigan with its first add-on acquisition. Walstrom Marine will take over operations of Algonac Harbour Club LLC, a full-service deep-water marina located in Algonac on the St. Clair River. AHC founder Peter Beauregard, Sr. will consult with Walstrom during a transition period, with Pete Beauregard, Jr. retaining an ownership stake in the company. The add-on acquisition fits with Continuum Ventures’ goal to “build the leading premium boat dealer and marina operator in the Great Lakes region, starting with Michigan,” according to a statement. An investment group led by Continuum Ventures acquired Walstrom Marine in June 2021, a deal in which Pete Beauregard and his family also participated. Algonac Harbour Club will continue to operate under its existing brand. Walstrom Marine President Tom Ervin will take over leadership of Algonac Harbour Club, whose current general manager, Greg Macuga, will run daily operations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Grand Rapids-based Fox Motor Group LLC has expanded its holdings in southeast Michigan with the acquisition of three dealerships from Ken Garff Automotive LLC, a dealer group based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Under the deal, Fox Motors picked up Cadillac of Novi, Southfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM (rebranded as Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Southfield) and Telegraph Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM (rebranded as Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Taylor). The addition of Cadillac of Novi marks the first time the Dan DeVos-owned Fox Motors will sell the General Motors luxury brand. Fox now operates five stores in the metro Detroit area, including BMW of Farmington Hills and Jaguar Land Rover Farmington Hills, which the dealer group acquired last year. With the acquisition, Fox Motors’ portfolio includes 46 automotive and powersports brands at 38 locations spanning Michigan and Illinois. Fox picked up 250 new employees in the latest deal and now employs 1,875 people.
  • Grand Rapids-based fintech and global insurance broker Acrisure LLC has added to its cyber services business with acquisitions of Indianapolis, Ind.-based Catalyst Technology Group and Bar Mills, Maine-based ITS Inc. The acquisitions give the fast-growing Acrisure access to products and services that include Microsoft products, licenses, and Azure Cloud services; Dell computers and components; Cisco networking equipment and software; and installation and support engineering. Terms of both acquisitions were undisclosed. Acrisure launched its cyber services division earlier this year and has been rapidly expanding capabilities to offer full cybersecurity services to clients. Through the first half of 2022, Acrisure closed on 43 acquisitions, according to Chicago-based Optis Partners LLC, which tracks M&A in the industry. 
  • Grand Rapids-based American Storage & Logistics, a supplier of new, used and refurbished warehouse equipment, is expanding its capabilities with acquisitions of two equipment suppliers based in the northeastern United States. In separate deals, the company acquired Binghamton, N.Y.-based Binghamton Material Handling Inc., a family-owned supplier of industrial equipment serving central New York and northeastern Pennsylvania, and Granite Industrial Machinery LLC, a Milford, N.H.-based distributor and servicer of forklifts. According to a statement, the acquisitions will enable American Storage to expand its equipment product lines and service offerings and enable the company to serve a broader geographic market. Terms of the deals were not disclosed. American Storage & Logistics also is changing its name and plans to rebrand all three entities under BMH Equipment LLC.
  • Grand Rapids-based restaurant operator Meritage Hospitality Group Inc. (OTCQX: MHGU) is expanding its holdings in Florida with a deal to acquire six Wendy’s locations in Jacksonville. The deal is expected to add $11 million in annual sales for Meritage, which generated $577.1 million in revenue last year. Executives expect the new stores will be accretive to earnings. Meritage funded the deal with cash on hand. The six Jacksonville stores complement the 54 Wendy’s restaurant locations the company already operates in northern Florida. Meritage plans to immediately integrate the newly acquired stores into its operating and accounting systems. Currently, the company operates 348 restaurants across a 16-state area and employs about 11,000 people. 
  • Rockford-based plumbing and remodeling contractor Kellermeier Plumbing Inc. was sold to Scott Mostert and Ken Cronkright, who both have extensive experience in the plumbing industry. Blaine and Mary Kellermeier, represented by Grand Rapids-based Calder Capital LLC, sold the business after 26 years of ownership to transition to retirement. KeyBank provided financing for the deal. Grandville-based Hofstee & McLean PC advised the buyers on the deal, while Grand Rapids-based Schnelker, Rassi, & McConnell PLC represented Kellermeier Plumbing.
  • Marquette-based Easy Ice LLC, a private equity-backed commercial ice machine rental and servicing company, has expanded its footprint in Florida with the acquisition of Fort Myers-based Thrifty Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc., which offers ice machine leasing and service. The deal allows Easy Ice to add “customer density” in Florida, as well as a branch location and service facility, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Easy Ice is a portfolio company of Los Angeles, Calif.-based private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co.


Venture capital

  • 86 Repairs Inc., a restaurant equipment repair and maintenance company founded in Grand Rapids, has raised $15.2 million in a Series A funding round led by Silicon Valley-based Storm Ventures. Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service Inc. and Chicago-based Cleveland Avenue also participated in the deal. The raise, which will support product innovation and nearly three-times year-over-year revenue growth, comes after the company landed $7.3 million in seed funding in 2021. 86 Repairs, which also has operations in Chicago, partners with restaurants to provide end-to-end repairs and maintenance for kitchen equipment.
    Food service distributor Gordon Food Service is among the returning investors in a Chicago-based venture capital fund that invests in the food and retail industries. 
  • The closely held Wyoming-based Gordon Food Service Inc. also participated in Valor Equity Partners’ recent $595 million fundraising round for Valor Siren Ventures II L.P., an early stage venture capital fund. The new fund, which oversubscribed its target of $400 million, follows in the footsteps of Valor Siren Ventures I, which Chicago-based Valor Equity formed in 2019 in partnership with Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. Strategic anchor investors Starbucks and Switzerland-based Nestlé S.A. both participated in the second fund. In addition to Gordon Foods, other returning investors included Marriott International Inc., Kuwait-based multinational retail franchise operator Alshaya Group, and Mexico City-based restaurant operator and holding company Alsea S.A.B. de C.V. Valor Siren Ventures targets investments in early stage companies in food, food technology, retail, retail technology and sustainability within the food and retail markets. 
  • Bingham Farms-based SpinTech MRI Inc., a portfolio company of Grand Rapids-based Genesis Innovation Group’s cultivate(MD) Capital Funds LP, closed on a $6.5 million Series A financing round. The round included investments from cultivate(MD) Capital Funds LP and Ypsilanti-based Level 8 Ventures. SpinTech is developing an MRI platform that speeds and improves the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurological diseases. The company has already deployed its technology at more than 50 hospitals and institutions for advanced research, analysis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. SpinTech plans to use the funding to expand the use of its software technology for neurologists, radiologists and researchers.

People in the News: A roundup of new hires, promotions and awards in West Michigan.

The new West Michigan regional president for Huntington Bank moved into the job with nearly three decades of experience in the market.

Asmall West Michigan custom automation provider is doubling in size as manufacturers struggle with worker shortages and seek to introduce less labor-intensive components to their operations.

Even as a child, Danielle Schneider knew she would probably be involved in the manufacturing industry. 

Arecently published study from Up for Growth, a national housing advocacy and research group, found housing underproduction in Michigan has reached 87,491 homes — a 311-percent increase since 2012. 

The Whitmer administration’s announcement last year to reinstate prevailing wages on state projects costing more than $50,000 quickly gained support among union construction companies while opposing contractors called the policy a “waste” of public funding. 

GRAND RAPIDS — A Mill Valley, Calif.-based real estate investment trust recently purchased property in southeast Grand Rapids for $1.1 million.

GRAND RAPIDS — Plastic sheeting manufacturer Profile Films Inc. plans a major expansion at a long-vacant industrial property on Grand Rapids’ west side that was previously eyed for a large-scale cannabis growing facility.

Recent announcements of two new pediatric care centers in Grand Rapids signal a heightened push for collaboration with other health care providers from BHSH System’s Spectrum Health West Michigan.

KALAMAZOO — A new chief executive officer took over this month at Kalamazoo-based Consumers Credit Union.

Armed with new data on economic security, education and health outcomes, nonprofit officials hope an array of policy changes enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to address children’s and families’ needs are made permanent.

Venture capital investing in Michigan reached an all-time high in 2021 for the amount invested, as the industry built further momentum, continued the growth trend of several years and as the state attracted more outside investors to participate in deals.

Arts and cultural organizations are helping to define Muskegon’s downtown resurgence as they innovate out of slumps in attendance and events caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Network180 and Trinity Health Saint Mary’s will get $5 million from the state to support their planned mental health crisis stabilization center.

GRAND RAPIDS — Roskam Baking Co., the quietly massive operation that helped put West Michigan on the map as a center for food manufacturing, has sold to new private equity owners after nearly a century as a family owned business. 

HOLLAND — City of Holland voters heading to the polls next week will determine whether to allow the city to bond for up to $30 million to build out a publicly owned, fiber broadband internet network.

86 Repairs Inc., a restaurant equipment repair and maintenance company founded in Grand Rapids, has raised $15.2 million from investors to support the company’s ongoing growth.

ZEELAND — Tier 1 automotive supplier Gentex Corp. has received roughly $11.2 million in state grants and tax incentives for a $300 million expansion project that started in January and could create up to 500 jobs when it’s completed at the end of next year.

ADA — Wheeler Development Group LLC has broken ground on a 92-unit, luxury apartment project in downtown Ada.

A nationwide bus driver shortage has forced school districts to cut routes and scheduled transit services to trim trips. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month signed three pieces of legislation into law that begin to roll back workplace protections for both employers and employees before eliminating them entirely by July of 2023.