Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: February 15, 2021

BY Monday, February 15, 2021 10:49am

This is the MiBiz Growth Report for February 15, 2021.


  • Service Express LLC, a private equity-backed Grand Rapids-based firm that provides third-party data center maintenance services, acquired Blue Chip Customer Engineering Ltd., which is headquartered in Bedford, England, but has locations throughout the U.K. and Europe. Established in 1987, Blue Chip serves as a third-party maintenance provider and managed services provider and also has a software development division in Sri Lanka. The deal for Blue Chip marked the first international acquisition for Service Express. Prior to the deal, the two companies had maintained a partnership and provided shared client services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Service Express is a portfolio company of New York-based private equity firm Harvest Partners LP.
  • Holland-based advanced touchscreen provider TES America LLC acquired certain assets from 3M Touch Systems, which is a subsidiary of 3M Company, with plans to breathe new life into the brand. One of the assets is MicroTouch, a brand credited for introducing the first capacitive touchscreen in 1984. TES America plans to overhaul and expand the MicroTouch line, including adding all-in-one, multi-touch computer systems that are equipped with the latest TES-patented technology. TES America also acquired Surface Capacitive and Projected Capacitive components and displays from 3M Touch Systems. These components are used for commercial applications for such industries as casino gaming, medical equipment and public kiosks.
  • The founders of Marquette-based Satellite Services Inc. have sold the company to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). SSI is a provider of base operating support, facility operations and maintenance, and military family housing operations and maintenance services to government and commercial customers. Prairie Capital Advisors Inc., an Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based investment bank and ESOP advisory firm, worked with the company on the sale. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 
  • Traverse City-based High Street Insurance Partners acquired Hillsdale-based insurance agency Vested Risk Strategies Inc., according to a statement. The acquisition was the 18th for High Street Insurance Partners since it was formed in August 2018 by Detroit-based private equity firm Huron Capital
  • Wyoming-based Praxis Business Brokers LLC worked on six transactions that were completed in the fourth quarter of 2020. They were Muskegon Awning and Fabrication’s sale to an Ada buyer, the sale of Coye’s Canvas & Awnings in Wyoming to a Grand Rapids buyer, Grand Rapids-based S&C Plastic Coatings’ sale to a buyer in East Grand Rapids, a Bloomfield Hills-based buyer’s acquisition of Lansing-based Melting Moments Ice Cream Treats, Kalamazoo Chuck Manufacturing and Service Center’s sale to a Barry County buyer, and the sale of Fourth Coast Café & Bakery in Kalamazoo to three partners from Valparaiso, Ind. Praxis President Michael Greengard represented the sellers in all six transactions.

Joint venture

  • Acrisure LLC formed a joint venture with NFL quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks and Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Ciara to support increased access to insurance by minority-owned businesses in the U.S. Evolution Advisors LLC will “immediately focus on providing greater access and more effectively distributing insurance products to minority-owned enterprises,” according to an announcement of the joint venture. That includes companies certified as a Minority Business Enterprise, of which there are more than 4 million in the U.S. with combined sales of nearly $700 billion.


  • Harbor Steel & Supply Corp. will be investing $2.4 million for a 34,000-square-foot expansion on the west end of its existing facility at 2385 112th Ave. in Holland Charter Township. Through the expansion, the company expects to retain its 24-person workforce, as well as create another 10 jobs over the next two years. An all-in-one metal services company, Harbor Steel has operated in Holland since 1986. The company measures, processes, cuts and distributes metal products for a number of industries and applications. Harbor Steel operates four West Michigan locations in total — Holland, Muskegon, Spring Lake and Manistee — with additional operations in West Virginia and Kentucky.


  • Grand Rapids-based real estate investor Tim Engen has formed a new company that will focus on construction projects in the office, medical, industrial and retail sectors. Engen, president of Vision Real Estate Investment at 140 Monroe Center NW, recently launched CarbonSix Construction Inc. The companies are housed in the same office building, although the plan is to construct a new office for the two companies as well as an additional tenant. CarbonSix is “starting out small” with six employees, and some serving in dual roles at Vision Real Estate and CarbonSix, Engen told MiBiz. CarbonSix offers services including construction management, preconstruction estimating, design and build, and owner representation. The company works in collaboration with VREI, but was also formed to provide construction services to other owners throughout West Michigan, Engen said.


  • Kalamazoo-based Consumers Credit Union opened a new branch office on Wilson Avenue NW, across from the Meijer Inc. store in Standale. The full-service office is the credit union’s 22nd in West Michigan and includes personal and commercial lending and investment services. Grand Rapids-based CopperRock Construction Inc. served as the contractor; Bosch Architecture Inc. of Kalamazoo designed the office. Consumer Credit Union had more than 108,000 members and $1.47 billion in total assets at the end of 2020.
  • Kalamazoo-based Arbor Financial Credit Union opened a branch office on 32nd Avenue near I-196 in Hudsonville. The office is the 12th in the region for Arbor Financial, which at the end of 2020 had 44,666 members, $813.6 million in total assets, and $634.3 million in total deposits, according to a financial statement filed with federal regulators.

Public relations 

  • Kristie Burns, a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience, formed KB Communications Inc. She operates the firm virtually out of Norton Shores after moving from Grand Rapids a year and a half ago. The firm’s services include public and media relations strategies, corporate communications, and content to positively position companies within their industries, markets and communities. The firm works with companies in consumer products, health care and financial services sectors.

Health care

  • Catherine’s Health Center opened an additional location on the Streams of Hope campus at 60th Street SE in Grand Rapids. The location offers medical and behavioral health care alongside a food pantry, after-school tutoring, and other programs operated by Streams of Hope. Additionally, Catherine’s Health Dental Center opened on 36th Street SE in space that previously housed a dental center that closed last August.
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