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.
Kingma’s Market owner Alan Hartline confirmed to MiBiz that he partnered with Butzow to buy Fish Lads, which also operates the Carvers Grand Rapids’ Finest Meats store adjacent to it in the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.
“It’s just two great local brands that have a unique offering that combined will make a unique and special shopping experience like no other,” Hartline said, noting that Butzow will take on expanded general manager duties for Fish Lads/Carvers.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Although Hartline’s investment is separate from his growing grocery store business, he said the deal will result in more collaborations between the two firms.
As previously announced, Fish Lads — which Hartline described as the best fish market in the Midwest — will open a counter inside the new Kingma’s Market location in Ada, which is scheduled to open in 16 days.
Additionally, Hartline expects to infuse the meat counter at the new store with more of the “culinary flare” Carvers has become known for, with offerings like high-end kobe beef, alongside some of Kingma’s signature smokehouse meats and sausages.
Hartline said the partners will also team up to open a full-service kitchen in the new 14,000-square-foot store.
“The nice thing with me owning both is that we can be collaborative,” Hartline said. “We can bring something special to Ada and the Downtown Market.”
After proving and refining the concept in Ada, the companies could look to share their “playbooks” at the Downtown Market Carvers location, and at the original Kingma’s Market on Plainfield Avenue, he said.
“I am ecstatic about the opportunity to partner with Alan and help create unique experiences for Kingma’s guests in Ada,” Butzow said in a statement. “This allows us to broaden our customer platform beyond downtown Grand Rapids and align Carvers and Fish Lads with an aggressively growing business that is emerging as major player on the region’s specialty grocery retail landscape.”