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Mike VanGessel likes to talk about the “why” behind his company’s decision to invest in the long-neglected west side neighborhood of Grand Rapids.

It’s been a busy year and a half for David DeBoer.

When Service Express Inc. (SEI) sought a buyer in 2015, owners Michael McCullough and Ed tenHaaf were just looking to retire. 

Jim Engen started Netech Corp. 20 years ago with five employees.

Martin Stein always noticed Grand Equipment Co. alongside I-196 when he drove through Hudsonville.

When Tom Fehsenfeld decided to retire from the family business he led for the past 40 years, he found himself in a position familiar to many manufacturers exploring succession options. 

When Remos Lenio and Philip Blanchard set out to acquire their first company under a newly formed firm, the partners knew they had one chance to confirm what they saw as an unexplored market niche. 

While Bloem LLC had been hunting for in-house production capacity that would allow it to grow, the company found its solution in an unlikely place: an unsolicited email from one of its largest competitors.

Buying or selling a business or putting together a major deal is not the time to get cheap.

Mercantile Bank Corp. grew earnings by nearly 7 percent in the third quarter while recording strong loan growth.

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 17, 2016: 
• M&A: Grand Rapids-based Ranir LLC, a manufacturer of a variety of oral care products, has acquired Toronto-based BrushPoint, a maker of toothbrushes. In the deal, for which terms were not disclosed, Ranir will increase its product offerings and distribution footprint in the U.S., Canada and Europe. The BrushPoint acquisition comes on the heels of a deal in July of this year in which Ranir purchased the Rembrandt teeth-whitening brand from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. Last month, the company also said it had purchased the 200,000-square-foot facility at 4701 East Paris Ave. SE where it had been a tenant for 20 years.

When urban farming entered the mainstream thinking of community and economic developers, many prospective farmers envisioned a quick payday selling their products to high-end restaurants and other retailers. 

While considering buying an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S electric vehicle in 2014, Jim MacInnes had to drive roughly four hours to Windsor, Ontario to give it a test drive.

KALAMAZOO — As nonprofits struggle to navigate changes in overtime regulations, they may be forced to slow the expansion of new programs and services and put a hold on staff increases.

The addition of Spectrum Health gives a statewide coalition of health systems a large West Michigan presence and heightens the potential for it to offer employers a new option for benefits.

The medical campus under construction west of Rockford in northern Kent County follows a move by Spectrum Health to concentrate care across its footprint into one-stop locations. 

GRAND RAPIDS — Facing a dearth of high-amenity space in the downtown Grand Rapids market, commercial real estate stakeholders hope developers can soon begin to add Class A office inventory.

The automotive industry has been very good for West Michigan, in spite of the challenges that it has dished up for component suppliers over the last several decades. 

Editor’s note:
 
After more than 13 years of writing the Auto Focus column for MiBiz, Melissa Anderson plans to retire as a columnist, effective immediately, as she winds down her storied career in automotive analysis and research. In the short term, she and her husband plan to travel in the Southern Hemisphere. “I have enjoyed writing the column and it has been a good long run,” Anderson said. Anderson’s business intelligence on the automotive industry will be missed. “Melissa was our ideal business columnist because she was able to talk with a lot of knowledge about trends in the global automotive industry while also providing a lot of local context, examples and data,” said MiBiz Publisher Brian Edwards. MiBiz will continue its search for a new automotive/manufacturing columnist throughout the coming months.

HOLLAND — As robotic technology continues to improve, manufacturers of automation equipment are finding their customers demand larger, more complex systems.

CHARLOTTE — Spartan Motors Inc. has landed on the short list for a potentially large government contract to make the next generation of delivery vehicles for the United States Postal Service. 

With increasing demand for fresh, specialty groceries, Walker-based Meijer Inc. has started to look outside the big box retail format it’s known for, even if the retailer doesn’t like to admit it. 

trio of initiatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. aims to increase the flow of capital to startups and early-stage companies in the state.

After leaving their positions at Blackford Capital earlier this year, Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny have launched their own private equity firm with a goal to fill a gap in the market.

Metro Health can now begin performing angioplasty on an elective basis after earning state approval.

First National Bank (FNB) of Michigan plans to open a Holland office and has hired a veteran banker as market leader.

Grand Ledge-based Kuntzsch Solutions has come together with Public Sector Consultants of Lansing to form one organization.

McGarry Bair PC, a Grand Rapids-based intellectual property law firm, will move its downtown offices to the recently completed Arena Place mixed-use development at 45 Ottawa Ave. SW.

Coastal Automotive took the first step in its four-year global expansion strategy by announcing a $6.5 million investment to establish a new manufacturing facility in Holland.

M&K Truck Centers has acquired Sterling Heights-based Wiegand Mack Sales & Service.

A West Michigan information technology firm specializing in cyber security, network infrastructure and other services plans to upgrade its facility in Kentwood.

Data Strategy LLC announced this month it would open a sales and engineering office in Atlanta to serves as the firm’s southeastern hub.

The second-generation of the Walcott and Laning families has acquired 50 percent of Premier Freight Management Corp. of Holland.

Metro Health Hospital says it secured a $1 million settlement against the former head of the Metro Health Foundation.

Custom Profile Inc. has acquired the plastic extrusion business from Wisconsin-based Bemis Manufacturing Company.

Four of the top five investments by venture capital firms in the state went to West Michigan companies in the third quarter.

The Grand Rapids chapter of American Institute of Architects (AIA) held its annual Honor Awards Gala last night. Twenty entries were submitted this year, in categories such as: individual buildings, interior architecture and small commercial design. That’s fewer entries than a year ago, but it isn’t a bad thing, according to Thom Danckaert, Grand Rapids AIA board president and lead design architect at Grand Rapids-based Progressive AE.

DP Fox Ventures LLC, the family office of Dan and Pamella DeVos, today announced its acquisition of the Edge Ice Arena in Holland.

Royal Technologies Corporation will invest $33.7 million to construct a new facility in Jamestown Charter Township.

Metal Mechanics Inc. will add seven jobs as part of a $1.25 million investment in Schoolcraft, according to a statement.

Zeeland Farm Services Inc. plans to invest $130 million into a new soybean processing facility in Ithaca, 45 miles north of Lansing.

CWD Real Estate Investment Inc.’s purchase of the Fifth Third Bancorp. campus in downtown Grand Rapids is a done deal.

Kalamazoo Sanitary Supply Inc. (KSS Enterprises) this week announced the completion of its expanded headquarters facility on the south side of Kalamazoo.

Newly-awarded federal funds will help Western Michigan University (WMU) move forward with the second phase of its high-tech business park.

Executives answering the latest survey by Business Leaders for Michigan expect both the state and U.S. economies to grow at a slower pace through 2017.

Tigmaster Company, a Baroda-based provider of laser cutting, water jet, welding and other services, plans to invest nearly $200,000 into facility expansion project.

A manufacturer of a variety of oral care products has closed a deal with Toronto-based BrushPoint.

Here’s the MiBiz Growth Report for Oct. 3, 2016: 

• M&A: Glenmoor Village, a Battle Creek-based manufactured home community, has been acquired by Chicago-based Zeman Homes Inc., according to a statement. Zeman, one of the largest private operators of manufactured home communities, now has seven properties in Michigan, plus sites in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois and Indiana. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Glenmoor opened in 2002, according to a report in the Battle Creek Enquirer

Chris Mason and his partners wanted to use a local lender when they sought a loan to start their business in Stevensville, just north of the Indiana border in Berrien County.