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Published in Economic Development
DeVos investment firm acquires majority stake in Northern Michigan marine company COURTESY PHOTO

DeVos investment firm acquires majority stake in Northern Michigan marine company

BY Thursday, June 17, 2021 06:00am

The family investment company of Doug and Maria DeVos has acquired a majority stake in Walstrom Marine Inc., a yacht sales and service company and marina operator in Northern Michigan.

Grand Rapids-based Continuum Ventures LLC invested in Walstrom Marine with Colony Marine Sales and Service Inc., a large family-owned boat dealer and service company based in St. Clair Shores that assumed a minority ownership position in the 75-year-old Walstrom Marine.

“Boating, Northern Michigan, and the Great Lakes are near and dear to our family and our hearts,” Doug DeVos said in an announcement on the deal. “We are honored to now be part of the Walstrom family and look forward to working with Colony Marine and the Walstrom team to be good stewards of this amazing business and company. We are passionate about and interested in growing our presence in the Marine industry and are excited for this great partnership.”

Financial terms of the deal that closed Tuesday were undisclosed.

In investing in Walstrom Marine with Colony Marine, “we’re partnering with two really strong family businesses that share values with us,” Continuum Ventures CEO Mike Cazer said.

Walstrom Marine has locations in Harbor Springs, Traverse City, Bay Harbor, Charlevoix and Cheboygan and employs more than 70 people. The company sells yachts made by Tiara Yachts, Pursuit Boats, Chris Craft, Sea Ray & Lund, Crest, and NauticStar.

The Walstrom family plans to remain actively involved in the company as a minority owner. Tom Ervin remains as president and the company will continue operating under the Walstrom brand name.

“This will usher in a new era of boating that gives us greater potential for growth and the opportunity to better meet the needs of an ever-changing market,” said CEO Ward Walstrom.

Cazer said the deal came together after the head of the DeVos-owned Wakestream Marine LLC learned last year that the Walstrom family was looking for outside investors.

The DeVoses and the Walstrom family have known each other since the 1970s, and Doug DeVos has long been a customer of Walstrom Marine, he said.

“We’re really excited about this space,” he said. “The marine space is in our sweet spot. There are a couple of things we want to invest in, and Michigan and marine are two topics at the top of our list.”

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