A roundup of mergers and acquisitions, expansions, and other growth plans across West Michigan.
- Grand Rapids-based investment firm Auxo Investment Partners added to a platform of portfolio companies with the acquisition of Saylor Technical Products LLC, an Ohio maker of sleeving, loom, specialty cords and specialty tapes for the antique auto, aerospace, wire and cable, and electrical markets. The company became part of Auxo’s Precision Products Group Inc. platform that includes three previously acquired companies: Breyden Products Inc. and Paramount Tube, both based in Indiana, and Ohio-based Euclid Medical Products. The Saylor acquisition builds on a platform of niche manufacturers operating under the PPG parent company platform. Terms of the transaction were undisclosed. Advisers on the deal included Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey PLC, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, BDO USA LLP, Marsh & McLennan, and Aon Plc.
- The parent company of Grand Rapids-based Auto-Wares LLC, a distributor of aftermarket automotive parts to service centers and more than 200 company-owned stores in the Midwest, has secured an investment from Kinderhook Industries LLC, a New York City-based private equity firm. The affiliated AWI Holdings LLC subsequently used the recapitalization, which involved investments from its management and Kinderhook Industries, to buy Lafayette Warehouse Inc., a warehouse distributor of OEM and aftermarket auto parts in North Central Indiana. The Lafayette deal was the 83rd acquisition that Auto-Wares has closed since the company was founded in 1976.
- A Southwest Michigan retailer and machine shop specializing in refurbished diesel engines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy less than two years after incorporating, citing mounting warranty claims and broader supply chain disruptions. Atlas Heavy Engine Co., a Niles-based company doing business as Worldwide Diesel, on March 14 filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan under Subchapter V of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Owned by Richard Campbell, Atlas operates from a 45,000-square-foot warehouse at 1515 N. Old U.S. Highway 31 in Niles. In court filings, Atlas reported $1.1 million in assets and more than $4.2 million in total liabilities. The unsecured creditors include Huntington Bank Commercial Loan Servicing ($3.39 million total), Quality Truck Parts ($422,572), American Express ($462,084), Henry & Sons Equipment Repair in Indiana ($14,369) and Brunetti Express in Florida ($10,033).
- Foodservice distribution giant Gordon Food Service Inc. has expanded to the Lone Star State with the addition of six new retail locations. GFS, a Wyoming, Mich.-based privately held foodservice distributor operating in the U.S. and Canada, opened four of the new stores in and around Houston on March 14, with plans to open an additional two stores at an undisclosed date. The stores are the first Texas locations for GFS and the most the company has opened at one time. Sharon Devine, director of communications and public relations for GFS, said Houston’s fast-growing community, exciting food culture and diverse population made the Texas market attractive to the foodservice distributor. The leased store locations range between 25,000 and 30,000 square feet and will each employ an average of 40 full-time and part-time workers, according to the company.
- KeyBank opened a downtown Grand Rapids office in the Waters Center at 177 Ottawa Ave. The office houses the Cleveland, Ohio-based KeyBank’s commercial and business banking, wealth management, U.S. Small Business Association lending, and home mortgage operations in West Michigan. Michael Sytsma serves as the bank’s West Michigan market president and commercial sales leader.
- A New York City-based producer and seller of hair care products plans to close a Grand Rapids-area production facility by the end of the year, resulting in nearly 70 permanent layoffs. Officials with Function Inc., which does business as Function of Beauty, disclosed the layoffs in a March 16 filing with the state under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The company indicated 68 anticipated permanent layoffs will start in May and last through the summer, according to the notice. The Caledonia Township production plant, which also included a call center, opened in 2019 and the company created 150 local jobs, according to media reports. Function of Beauty had reportedly signed a 12-year, $10.5 million lease in 2019 with Grand Rapids-based Visser Development for the production plant at 6610 Patterson Ave. SE.
- DeVries Jewelers plans to tear down the abandoned Lannings’ restaurant on Grand Rapids’ west side to make way for a new storefront for the fourth-generation, family-owned jewelry retailer. Owner Dan DeVries filed plans with the city to tear down the dilapidated building at 433 Leonard St. NW. This would clear the way for a new DeVries Jewelers storefront as the business plans to relocate from its current space down the street at 411 Leonard St. NW. DeVries reportedly first expressed an interest in moving onto the Lannings’ property in 2009, and the building has been vacant for more than 15 years. Site plans filed with the city call for demolishing the aging structure and constructing a two-story, 6,000-square-foot jewelry store and an 80-space surface parking lot that could be used by DeVries and other businesses on the Leonard Street corridor.
- Corewell Health has opened an integrated care campus, Southwestern Medical Primary Care, on 11th Street in Niles that includes adult and pediatric medicine, a walk-in clinic, counseling, as well as otolaryngology and audiology. The facility will serve more than 20,000 patients annually through adult and pediatric primary care and the walk-in clinic.
- Grand Rapids-based Blackford Capital was named M&A Dealmaker of the Year in the Association for Corporate Growth Detroit chapter’s annual M&A All Star Awards. Blackford Capital officials said 2022 was the company’s most successful year since it began in 2010. The private equity firm’s seven portfolio companies generate more than $550 million in annual revenues with operations in 10 states, Germany and China, and employ more than 2,000 people. The Detroit ACG chapter will recognize Blackford Capital on May 2 at an award presentation with other M&A All Star Awards winners.