Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Feb. 13, 2023

BY Sunday, February 12, 2023 06:12pm


  • Grand Rapids-based Auxo Investment Partners has acquired two manufacturers that produce custom wire harnesses and cable assemblies. The deals for Cascade Township-based Tack Electronics Inc. and Fremont, Calif.-based Morgan Royce Industries follow Auxo’s acquisition last spring of Golden State Assembly Inc., a wire and cable assembly and harness manufacturer also based in Fremont, Calif. Each acquisition expands Auxo’s wire harness platform. Tack Electronics makes wire harnesses, cable assemblies and box builds for industries that include aerospace and defense, gaming, medical, transportation, and battery and energy equipment. Auxo acquired Tack through the $100 million Michigan Opportunity Fund that invests in Michigan-based and largely family-owned businesses.
  • Grand Rapids-based Lambert Global LLC, a public relations, investor relations and integrated marketing firm, has acquired Detroit-based Roy Public Affairs Management LLC, a communications and policy advocacy firm. Roy Public Affairs primarily serves clients throughout Michigan. Firm Founder and Principal Melissa Roy, a registered lobbyist, has joined Lambert Global as its Detroit managing partner and will lead the company’s public affairs practice. With the acquisition, Lambert Global’s public affairs practice will include communications, advocacy, economic development, community engagement, government relations and lobbying, according to a statement. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Grand Rapids-based Scott Group Custom Carpets LLC, which does business as Scott Group Studio, acquired Winston, Ga.-based RedRock Custom Carpet Inc., a maker of machine-made carpets and rugs for the aviation refurbishment sector, according to a report in Business Jet Interiors International. The deal bolsters Scott Group’s business of manufacturing carpet for the new aviation completion market. Executive leadership of RedRock will remain in place after the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • Traverse City-based 4Front Credit Union has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets and assume the liabilities of Old Mission Bank, including two branches in Sault Ste. Marie and Pickford in the Upper Peninsula. The boards of directors at each organization have unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in late 2023, pending closing conditions, regulatory approvals and the approval of Old Mission Bancorp. Inc. shareholders, according to a statement. With the deal, 4Front expects to grow its assets to approximately $1.2 billion and 20 branch offices. 
  • Williamsburg-based Classic Power Equipment, an authorized dealer of the Ariens, Polaris, John Deere and Stihl brands, sold its John Deere business to Murray, Ky.-based Hutson Inc., a multi-state consolidator of John Deere dealerships. The move comes as Classic Power Equipment, founded in 1993 by Donald and Nancy Pishney, transitions its business model to focus on powersports equipment, according to a statement. With the deal, Hutson expands its presence in Northern Michigan, where it previously acquired Gaylord-based Lappans of Gaylord Inc. in March 2022 and followed it up in November with a deal for Alpena-based Gambles. Hutson has a footprint of 31 locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Michigan. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.



  • An investment from Muskegon-based Port City Ventures LLC, a private equity and venture capital firm, will go to support growth for Rolar Products Inc., a manufacturer of high-volume, tight-tolerance components and gearing. The growing company serves the automotive, medical and industrial sectors. Along with the investment, Rolar expanded with a new 60,000-square-foot facility in Muskegon County’s Egelston Township, where it installed new machining technology such as production data acquisition software to improve efficiencies and quality. The new facility is three times the size of Rolar’s former location. The increased production capacity will enable Rolar Products to diversify its product portfolio and potentially add up to 15 new jobs. Port City Ventures specializes in investing in various industries with a focus on technology and manufacturing.


Private equity

  • Grand Rapids private equity firm Blackford Capital aims to raise $75 million to support growth at existing portfolio companies. Blackford Capital in late 2022 closed on the fund’s first $34.8 million that it raised from 25 investors, according to a filing to federal securities regulators. The fund will provide growth capital to Aqua-Leisure Recreation LLC, a maker of leisure products for water sports and recreation based in Avon, Mass.; Mopec Inc., a maker of pathology and mortuary equipment based in the Detroit area; and Starfire Direct, a Temecula, Calif.-based maker of fireplaces, gas fire pits and high-end custom products for residential and commercial uses.


Federal contracting

Two Michigan-based firms were selected among 10 bids to compete for orders as part of a $260 million fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to a Feb. 1 statement from the U.S. Department of Defense. Muskegon-based Great Lakes Dock and Materials LLC and Cheboygan-based Morrish-Wallace Construction Inc. submitted online bids to participate in the marine construction contract. Work locations and funding are dependent on each order, and have an estimated completion date of before Jan. 31, 2028. The contracts are being managed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Buffalo, N.Y.



  • A new business incubator at Michigan State University’s research campus in downtown Grand Rapids offers a new venue for tech entrepreneurs to nurture their innovations. The Bridge, scheduled to open March 1 in the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building at MSU’s Grand Rapids Innovation Park, wants to attract high-tech, high-growth startups that are working to commercialize an innovation. Spartan Innovations, a subsidiary of the MSU Research Foundation, and Health Innovation Partners, the joint venture that developed the Meijer Medical Innovation Building, recently opened applications for tech startups that want to operate in the incubator. The Bridge will have room to house up to two dozen companies.


Health care

  • Bronson Healthcare has named Deb Rozewicz as CEO for the health system’s new psychiatric hospital under construction in Battle Creek. Rozewicz has been with the Kalamazoo-based health system since 2002. A registered nurse, she most recently served as clinical project director for behavioral health since August 2021. As CEO of the 96-bed Bronson Behavioral Health Hospital, developed through a joint venture with Tennessee-based Acadia Healthcare Co., Rozewicz oversees the new psych hospital’s development that includes staff recruitment and training, designing clinical programs, and operations. The facility is scheduled for a mid-2023 opening. 
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