Published in Economic Development

MiBiz growth report: May 26, 2019

BY MiBiz Staff Sunday, May 26, 2019 09:09pm

Here is the growth report for May 26, 2019.


  • Grand Rapids-based trucking firm Sweet Express LLC has acquired Larsen Trucking Inc. of Greenville, according to a statement. With the addition of the Larsen Trucking assets, Sweet Express now operates 350 trucks and more than 700 trailers. Sweet Express General Manager Venad Sales told the Greenville Daily News the company’s growth drove the need to expand. Sales reportedly said the company planned to retain all of Larsen Trucking’s 51 drivers.

  • Dedham, Mass.-based Atlantic Power Corp. plans to pay $20 million to acquire the equity interests held by AltaGas Power Holdings U.S. Inc. in the Grayling Generating Station and another biomass plant in North Carolina, according to a statement. An affiliate of Jackson-based CMS Energy Corp., the parent company of utility Consumers Energy, holds a 50-percent interest in both plants. The deal, which is subject to federal approval, is expected to close at midyear. The Grayling facility is a 37 MW biomass plant that burns wood waste from local mills, forestry residues, mill waste and bark. Atlantic Power is acquiring a 30-percent stake in the facility, which has a power purchase agreement with Consumers through 2027. White Plains, N.Y.-based Fortistar LLC owns the remaining 20-percent stake in Grayling Generation Station.

  • Marquette-based Great Lakes Radio Inc. has sold three radio stations and four radio translators to an affiliate of Indianapolis-based MediaBrew Communications LLC for $2 million, according to a statement. Great Lakes Radio will retain six of its properties after the deal.

  • Grand Rapids-based iEducation Group, formerly known as Fusion Education Group, an operator of private middle schools and high schools that offer personalized education, has acquired Futures Academy of California. The transaction and formation of Grand Rapids-based iEducation Group as a parent company creates a single large operator of three individual school groups that includes Futures, Fusion and Barnstable Academy in New Jersey. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. iEducation Group is backed financially by Leeds Equity Partners LLC, a New York City-based private equity firm.

  • Allworth Financial acquired Grandville-based investment firm Blueprint Financial LLC. The deal for Blueprint Financial, which manages approximately $80 million of client assets, expands the Sacramento, Calif.-based Allworth Financial’s Midwest reach and assets under management to more than $4 billion. The acquisition also was Allworth Financial’s fourth deal in a little more than a year.


  • Kalamazoo-based Continental Linen Services Inc. is wrapping up the first phase of a $2.6 million expansion at its headquarters to increase capacity and upgrade its sorting process for soiled products, according to a statement. The investment was part of a planned $7 million capital expenditure at the facility, located at 4200 Manchester Road. Additionally, the company said it is investing about $850,000 in a new 6,000-square-foot facility at the corner of Bell Avenue and Plett Road in Haring Township, just north of Cadillac. Marion, Mich.-based Dracht Construction Co. is handling the buildout of the project.

  • Vulnerability Discovery & Analysis Labs LLC, a Grand Rapids-based cybersecurity firm, is investing $300,000 to open a new 3,000-square-foot headquarters at 5234 Plainfield Ave. NE in Plainfield Charter Township. The company expects to create 25 jobs at the new facility. The Michigan Economic Development Corp. is providing the company with a $75,000 performance-based grant via the Michigan Business Development Program.

  • Kentwood-based Mobile Defenders LLC has partnered with Gruppo AQA to open a wholesale warehouse to supply its line of mobile device replacement parts to European storefronts such as iRiparpo, which has more than 150 locations in Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Spain, according to a statement.

  • Grand Rapids-based D.A. Blodgett-St. Johns is kicking off the public phase of a $10 million fundraising campaign to expand its existing location at 2355 Knapp St. NE, where it will consolidate all of its services by 2021. The expanded campus will include more programming space, administrative offices, and areas for youth education and wellness. With the move, the organization expects to save $2 million over the next 20 years. The nonprofit serves children and families with counseling, foster care, adoption and residential care.


  • Kalamazoo Creamery LDHA LP, a partnership headed by Portage-based Hollander Development Corp., plans to transform a vacant lot at 1101 Portage St. in Kalamazoo’s Edison Neighborhood into a new 59,420-square-foot mixed-use building with 48 mixed-income apartments and 10,500 square feet of commercial space. The company received more than $2.5 million in incentives from the Michigan Strategic Fund board to purchase tax-exempt bonds and provide performance-based loan support for its proposed mixed-use project. Vicksburg-based Frederick Construction Inc. is serving as construction manager for the project, which was designed by Kalamazoo-based Byce & Associates Inc.

Health care

  • Metro Health – University of Michigan Health opened its 17th neighborhood physician office. The new location on Parkway Place SW in Grandville houses family physicians and ob-gyn. Dr. Rebecca Werner serves as the site medical director.

  • Civica Rx, a coalition of large health systems across the U.S. that includes Spectrum Health, signed a product supply deal with Xellia Pharmaceuticals, based in Denmark, to produce essential antibiotics for member health systems. Civica plans to produce 14 generic medications for health system members to alleviate price spikes and shortages. Spectrum Health joined Civica in January as a founding member.

  • Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy Inc. opened a new location on Three Mile Road NW in Grand Rapids. The new site is the 15th location in the Grand Rapids area for Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy.


  • Credit Union Trust received approval from state regulators to commence operations. Formed last year as a coalition of seven credit unions, the Farmington Hills-based Credit Union Trust is now able to offer trust and investment-related services to nearly 5.4 million people who are members of a credit union in the state. Credit Union Trust also intends to target foundations, nonprofit organizations and other community groups.

  • Advia Credit Union recently began construction on a new corporate headquarters in Oshtemo Township. The 15,000-square-foot office will bring together 460 employees from 32 departments and include a full-service branch, ATM and night deposit box, plus spaces on the first floor to lease to local businesses. The project will take two years to complete. Byce & Associates Inc. in Kalamazoo performed the design and architectural planning and engineering work on the project. Lansing-based Granger Construction Co. is serving as construction manager.
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