Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: January 17, 2022

BY Sunday, January 16, 2022 06:41pm

Here is the MiBiz Growth Report for January 17, 2022.


  • Waséyabek Development Co. LLC, the non-gaming economic development arm of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, announced that it has acquired Otsego-based Safari Circuits Inc., which specializes in electronics manufacturing in addition to both engineering and supply chain management services. With the purchase, Waséyabek now generates roughly $70 million in yearly revenue through its collective investments. Founded in 1985 by CEO Larry Cain, Safari Circuits employs 150 people and serves more than 180 clients in the medical, industrial, automotive, military and other industries.
  • Grand Rapids-based insurance and employee benefits agency Lighthouse Group has acquired Hart-based Gales Agency Inc. from Shelby State Bank. The acquisition extends Lighthouse’s presence to markets northwest of Grand Rapids. Gales Agency now operates as a division of Grand Rapids-based Lighthouse, which is owned by Alera Group in Deerfield, Ill. Lighthouse has offices in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland, Muskegon, Troy, Flint, Jackson and Empire. Gales Agency has offices in Shelby, Hart, Pentwater and Whitehall.
  • Kalamazoo-based SPARK Business Works has acquired Houston, Texas-based digital marketing agency Convergent1. The acquisition “presents a great opportunity for SPARK to integrate their service offerings with our existing clients who need help with digital marketing,” CEO Robert Armbrister said in an announcement. SPARK develops software applications and specializes in custom data integration, apps, dashboards, and workflow tools. The company is headquartered in Kalamazoo with offices in Grand Rapids and the Detroit area.
  • Kalamazoo-based Stryker Corp. plans to buy health care software company Vocera Communications Inc. for nearly $3 billion. The deal will add to Stryker’s Medical division with a product portfolio that connects nurses and other hospital caregivers with digital devices that monitor and collect data on patients. Directors at both corporations have unanimously approved the deal, which executives expect to close in the first quarter and is pending a federal regulatory review.
  • Cadillac-based Heritage Broadcasting Company of Michigan, the family-owned parent company of WWTV/WWUP 9&10 News, has acquired the assets of Traverse City-based Prism Publications Inc., which does business as MyNorth Media, according to a statement. MyNorth Media is the publisher of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine, Northern Home & Cottage and MyNorth Vacation Guides, among other titles. The sale clears the way for Deborah Wyatt Fellows to retire from the company she founded in 1981. The company was mostly a print media publisher until the mid 2000s, when it added various digital titles to its roster. MyNorth Media will maintain its brand and operate under Heritage Broadcasting. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 
  • PE-backed industrial technology firm SyBridge Technologies recently announced that it has purchased Grand Rapids-based Action Mold & Machining, which specializes in repair and engineering services. SyBridge, which is backed by New York City-based Crestview Partners, stated the acquisition would allow it to more effectively serve its customers in the Midwest region. By adding a service center in Grand Rapids, SyBridge has five dedicated service facilities throughout North America.
  • GLASSource, a Grand Haven-based manufacturer of glass and mirror products including shower doors, has been acquired by one of the largest custom shower door makers in the United States. GLASSource found a buyer in Basco Shower Enclosures, which is based in Mason, Ohio. Not only does the strategic acquisition expand Basco’s corporate footprint, but it also adds a third tempering and fabricating location to bolster capacity. The other two facilities are located in Ohio and North Carolina.
  • GR-X Manufacturing LLC, a Grand Rapids-based packaging solutions company that specializes in palletizing and de-palletizing equipment systems, has been sold. The buyer is Durango, Colo.-based Ska Fabricating, which also operates in the packaging solutions space. In a statement on the purchase, Ska Fabricating stated that the two companies share little overlap in their specific market segments. GR-X Manufacturing primarily designs systems for consumer products and the food and beverage industry.
  • Minnesota-based Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses, which operates six locations throughout the Midwest, added one more facility with its recent purchase of Pineview Greenhouse in Kalamazoo. Outside of its home state, Dan & Jerry’s also operates facilities in Iowa, South Dakota and Indiana. The company stated that the acquisition in Kalamazoo would allow Dan & Jerry’s to more effectively service customers in the region while opening up opportunities for growth.
  • Tramec Sloan LLC, a Holland manufacturer that produces air, electrical and brass components for the heavy duty trucking industry, announced that it has acquired Penz Products Inc. Headquartered in Mishawaka, Ind., Penz Products provides custom plastic and metal fabrication, forming and stamping for a variety of industries, including commercial vehicles. “Penz Products is a perfect complement to our existing product lines, target markets, and manufacturing capabilities,” said Mark Holm, president of Tramec Sloan. Tramec is a portfolio company of Chicago-based private equity firm High Street Capital Partners LLC.
  • Traverse City-based independent insurance brokerage High Street Insurance Partners recently announced that it has acquired Maritime Insurance International, which is headquartered in Charleston, S.C. Maritime specializes in boat, yacht and commercial marine insurance and stands as one of the largest marine-specific agencies in the country. Marine is a growing specialization for High Street, which operates agencies in the Southeast region and will grow that presence with the latest acquisition.


  • Hastings Mutual Insurance Co. President and CEO Joseph Babiak plans to retire on March 31. Babiak has been with Hastings Mutual since 2001, starting as vice president of financial services and then senior vice president of insurance operations. He’s served as president and CEO at the Hastings-based property and casualty insurance carrier since 2012. Renee Beauford, Hastings Mutual’s senior vice president of operations, will succeed Babiak as president and CEO under a long-term succession plan.
  • The board of directors at ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. in Sparta, the parent company of ChoiceOne Bank, appointed Adom Greenland, as secretary, chief financial officer and treasurer effective Jan. 1, 2022. Greenland succeeded Thomas Lampen, who served as senior vice president and CFO until retiring Dec. 31, 2021.

Health care

  • HealthBar LLC, a provider of custom health care services to businesses and consumers that includes drive-thru clinics and telehealth, and marketing agency Deksia LLC plan to collaborate on a new headquarters. The two companies expect to move in April into new offices at 49 Coldbrook St. NE in the North Monroe neighborhood of Grand Rapids. The 10,000-square foot building the companies will share, with each occupying 5,000 square feet, provides each more space to grow. HealthBar and Deksia each employ about 30 people. The two companies worked together to design the space.
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