Published in Breaking News

MiBiz Growth Report: March 21, 2016

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, March 20, 2016 06:19pm


  • Woodland Indoor Sports LLC, an entity registered to RDV Corp., the family office of Amway co-founder Richard DeVos, has acquired the Woodland Sport Center, Woodland Skating from Roger and Alyce Roodvoets. The Roodvoets started the business at 2100 28th St. SE with investors in 1969, according to a statement. Another RDV company, Michigan Sports Academies, will operate the facility, which will close for renovation on April 18. The new owners plan to add indoor basketball and volleyball courts, as well as renovate the soccer fields. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Blu Perspective Corp. acquired Grand Rapids-based commercial cleaning company Busy Bea’s Services, according to a statement. Blu Perspective operates three businesses, Blu People, Blu Space and Blu Services, that focus on staffing, contract manufacturing and quality work, respectively. Zeeland-based Rua Associates LLC advised Busy Bea’s on the transaction. The company’s former owner was looking to exit the business and opted to sell, said Scott Jousma, director of sales and marketing development at Rua Associates.
  • Grand Rapids-based Tillerman & Co., an investment and merchant banking firm, completed its first transaction with the acquisition of Jackson-based Jackson Flexible Products Inc., according to a statement. Jackson Flexible Products manufactures rubber components for the aerospace industry. The company made the decision to sell as founder Ronald Jakubas looked to retire. Jakubas chose Tillerman because of the firm’s strategy of maintaining the company’s manufacturing presence in Jackson. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Tillerman was advised by the law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP. Comerica Bank provided the deal financing. 


  • Grand Rapids-based tech firm Appropos LLC, which operates a B2B software platform aimed at footwear and apparel companies, plans to expand its office at 678 Front Ave. NW to bring its services under one roof, according to a statement. Appropos will expand its space from 3,500 square feet to 8,400 square feet. To meet growing demand for the company’s service, Appropos will hire three new project managers.
  • Two years after establishing its U.S. operations in Holland Charter Township, ROL USA Inc. will invest $19.8 million in building a new 140,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. The maker of electric sit-to-stand tables, a subsidiary of Sweden-based ROL Ergo, plans to hire an additional 51 workers over the next two years to support the expansion, which is slated to begin in the “coming months,” according to a statement. The company received a $300,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Business Development Program to support the project. 
  • Swoboda Inc., a manufacturer of electronic components for the automotive industry, plans to invest $15.1 million in an expansion of its Kentwood facility. The company, which maintains its headquarters in Germany, expects to expand its facility by 25,000 square feet to increase its capacity, according to a statement. Swoboda hopes to create 37 new jobs as part of the expansion. The company received a $200,000 performance-based grant from the state. Grand Rapids-based A.J. Veneklasen Inc. will serve as the general contractor on the project, which Swoboda expects will begin in spring 2016 and be completed by late fall 2016.
  • Bonnell Aluminum will invest $18 million to install a new aluminum extrusion line at its AACOA plant in Niles, according to a statement. The new line and additional floor space for fabrication is set to be completed in the second quarter of 2017. AACOA, a manufacturer, fabricator and anodizer of aluminum extrusions with another facility in Elkhart, Ind., was acquired in 2012 by Bonnell, a subsidiary of Tredegar Corp. (NYSE: TG). 


  • After a lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful lease negotiation, popular downtown Rockford restaurant Reds On the River has decided to vacate its space in The Promenade Building at 8 E. Bridge St., according to a statement. The restaurant, operated by Redwater Restaurant Group LLC, plans to move to Thousand Oaks Golf Club off of 5 Mile Road and East Beltline Avenue. When it reopens in April, the restaurant will be rebranded as Reds at Thousand Oaks. The new location will allow Reds to double its kitchen space and expand its menu, and build a new bar and dining area. The restaurant has operated in its space in downtown Rockford for nearly 10 years. Rockford-based DJT Properties LLC owns the Promenade Building, according to property records.


  • German auto supplier WKW Roof Rail Systems LLC plans to pull out of Battle Creek less than two years after its project was first announced. The company notified the state this month that it planned to close its plant at 215 North Hill Brady Road in Battle Creek and lay off 130 workers as part of a restructuring plan it’s enacting “in response to changes in corporate structure and direction.” The company, a subsidiary of WKW Erbsloeh North America Inc. based in Wuppertal, Germany, expects to shut down operations at the plant by the end of August. It will shift the work to other WKW Automotive operations in Portage, Mich. — known as Bowers Manufacturing Co. — as well as plants in Alabama and Germany. The plant finishes aluminum parts for automotive industry customers. In 2014, WKW said it planned to invest up to $23 million and create 186 jobs in Battle Creek. 

Life sciences

  • Empirical Bioscience Inc. moved out of the GR Current incubator to a 6,000-square-foot facility on Eastcastle Drive SE in Grand Rapids, off 44th Street SE. The new location allows Empirical Bioscience to increase capacity and produce an expanded product line, the company stated. Formerly known as Syzygy Biotech before re-branding in 2014, the company produces PCR reagents and enzymes used in research.
  • Key executives at Perrigo Co. plc received bonuses for their role in fending off Mylan NV’s hostile takeover bid. Chairman and CEO Joe Papa in late December was granted stock options equal to $1.5 million. CFO Judy Brown, and Executive Vice President and General Counsel Todd Kingman were awarded options equal to $375,000, according to the company’s annual proxy statement. The statement cited the executives’ “key contributions related to Mylan’s hostile takeover attempt between April 2015 and November 2015.” Each also received special cash bonuses: $500,000 for Papa and $375,000 for Brown and Kingman.


  • Smith Haughey Rice Roegge PC opened a law office in Holland, the firm’s fifth in Michigan. Two long-time attorneys in the market, Jaron Nyhof and Jack Marquis, joined the new office, which is located in the Curtis Building on College Avenue in downtown.  They both specialize in business, corporate and transactional law. Smith Haughey also has law offices in Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Muskegon and Ann Arbor.


  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan attributes a “modest” $68 million loss for 2015 to one-time charges to settle litigation and losses in its heavily-subsidized Medigap supplemental policies for Medicare recipients. Minus the approximately $500 million cost of the two — $200 million for Medigap subsidies and $300 million for settling litigation — Blue Cross Blue Shield would have finished last year above the break-even mark, said Vice President of Finance Paul Mozak. The $68 million net loss for 2015 includes all of Blue Cross Blue Shield’s nonprofit and for-profit subsidiaries and came on total revenues of $24.2 billion with a modest underwriting loss on commercial health policies. The bottom line translates to a negative margin of about 0.3 percent, Mozak said. Subsidies for Medigap policies will end in 2016, he added.
Read 1815 times Last modified on Sunday, 20 March 2016 20:29