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Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Sept. 6, 2016:

• M&A: Lansing-based Eckhart Inc., a portfolio company of private equity firm LFM Capital of Nashville, Tenn., acquired Auto Craft Tool & Die Inc. and 3 D Sales Inc., both of Algonac, Mich., in a deal to add more controls, robotics, and automation-based solutions and distribution capabilities. Auto Craft operates facilities in Marine City, where it makes material handling systems and specialized tooling for industrial manufacturers. The company manufactures door and instrument panel carriers and automatic guided carts. The related 3 D Sales business distributes industrial ergonomic and work cell components. The deal, the terms for which were not disclosed, was the first for Eckhart, a manufacturer of ergonomic assembly line equipment that last year joined the LFM Capital portfolio. The Nashville-based private equity firm focuses on lower middle-market manufacturers and industrial services providers with enterprise values in the $15 million to $75 million range.

A business accelerator started by regional economic development organization Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Stryker Corp. has acquired Ivy Sports Medicine LLC, a Montvale, N.J.-based producer of products to repair meniscal tears in the knee.

Setting aside their competitive tendencies, Priority Health and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan are working together with the federal agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid to test new ways to pay doctors and drive cost and quality improvements.

Hospitals across Michigan benefitted from the state’s expansion of Medicaid two years ago. 

Employers who either want no part of wellness programs or have yet to jump onto the bandwagon remain among the solid majority in West Michigan.

Small businesses across West Michigan can generally expect to pay moderately more for employee health coverage next year.

It’s not as if the rising costs of health coverage went away, but for a few years the increases mitigated somewhat.

MUSKEGON — A scientist-turned-entrepreneur hopes to commercialize technology that will map and provide a specific treatment plan for invasive aquatic plant species based on their genetic profile. 

GRAND RAPIDS — The majority of people who serve on the boards of nonprofits lack the time to educate themselves about the terminology used in their organization’s financial statements.

WYOMING — Stu Kingma often fields multiple phone calls per month from people interested in redeveloping Site 36, one of West Michigan’s most storied former industrial sites.

SPRING LAKE — The residential housing boom in downtown Grand Rapids has led one West Michigan manufacturer of commercial casework and other custom furniture to shift its focus. 

While many pieces still need to be assembled, Michigan’s growing forest products industry remains on track to transform into a robust and sustainable market. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Restoring the Grand River to its former state and encouraging more recreational uses of the waterway in downtown Grand Rapids may be part of the long game of economic development, but a variety of companies have started banking on the notion that improvements will occur. 

A new line of defense in the proverbial fight between man and weeds may be gaining traction among farmers and other business in West Michigan. But instead of being based on chemicals or other manmade products, this solution is much more back to nature. 

GRAND RAPIDS — BarFly Ventures LLC, the parent company that operates the growing HopCat craft beer bar chain, has secured a new $5 million investment to further its expansion in the Midwest, MiBiz has learned. 

Lake Michigan Insurance Agency, a division of Grand Rapids-based Lake Michigan Credit Union, acquired Minor Field Agency in Kalamazoo.

Universal Forest Products Inc. (Nasdaq: UFPI) today signed a definitive agreement to buy idX Corp. in a deal valued at about $68 million.

Walker-based big box retailer Meijer Inc. will roll out a home grocery delivery service later this month to customers in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.

Wolverine World Wide Inc. is investing approximately $1 million into an expansion at its Big Rapids facility, which primarily manufactures its Bates brand of military footwear.

Coming off its merger with eMerge West Michigan earlier this year, Grand Rapids-based Start Garden LLC  has spun off its venture capital arm into a new entity.

Moving outside of its Detroit-area market for the first time, Level One Bank plans to enter the Grand Rapids area.

Agility Health Inc. increased revenue for the second quarter.

Global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. has taken the next step in its proposed $146 million expansion to its manufacturing facility in Southwest Michigan.

Vision Real Estate Investment Inc., a Grand Rapids-based real estate investment firm, has acquired a Big Rapids student housing facility.

Food distributor and retailer SpartanNash Co. has promoted COO Dave Staples to the role of president and COO.

The new business dean at Baker College wants to build partnerships with companies around that state to boost the curriculum and give students real-world experiences as they earn their degrees.

A private equity-backed company from Lansing has purchased two Algonac, Mich.-based manufacturers. 

GRAND RAPIDS — An investment banking adviser believes the current environment in the contract furniture industry should lead to more deals getting done before the end of the year. 

At this time next year, economic developers from around Michigan will gather in Holland.

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