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Published in Economic Development

MiBiz Growth Report: Sept. 26, 2021

BY Sunday, September 26, 2021 05:42pm

This is the MiBiz growth report for September 26, 2021.

M&A

  • Grand Rapids-based Acrisure LLC entered the real estate services market with the acquisition of New York City-based Tempo Title, one of the largest private title insurance and settlement service providers in the U.S. Through this acquisition, Acrisure plans to establish Acrisure Real Estate Services to provide real estate services to homeowners, lenders and investors. Acrisure Real Estate Services joins Acrisure Asset Management as new divisions established this year. Tempo Title operates from 90 locations and is licensed in 43 states. Acrisure also hired a new CFO who comes from The Walt Disney Co. and will play a key role in helping the company grow beyond the core insurance business. Lowell Singer has been senior vice president of investor relations for Disney (NYSE: DIS) for 14 years.
  • Lansing-based food and animal safety products maker Neogen Corp. (Nasdaq: NEOG) has bolstered its holdings in a fast-growing veterinary market with the acquisition of Atlanta-based CAPInnoVet Inc., a provider of affordable pet medications that offer protection from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. For Neogen, the deal will provide an entry into the more than $12 billion retail parasiticide market. Neogen plans to integrate the CAPInnoVet business into its Animal Safety business unit that also includes veterinary instruments, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and diagnostic products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition follows a string of dealmaking for Neogen in 2020, when the company acquired eight businesses, seven of which involved international deals. 
  • Lansing-based Liquid Web LLC, a managed hosting, digital commerce and WordPress solutions firm, acquired Ann Arbor-based LearnDash, the developer of a learning management system plugin for WordPress websites, according to a statement. The deal broadens private equity-backed Liquid Web’s digital commerce offerings to help online educators access another tool to create content and marks the company’s entry into the learning management system market, which it projects to grow by more than $30 billion between now and 2028. LearnDash co-founder and CEO Justin Ferriman will become an adviser to Liquid Web. Chris Lema, vice president of products at Liquid Web, will become the general manager of LearnDash. Liquid Web is a portfolio company of Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Birmingham-based Angle Advisors LLC served as the financial adviser to LearnDash in the deal. 
  • Ann Arbor-based cannabis company Skymint Inc. has acquired 3Fifteen Cannabis in a deal that broadens the company’s position across the state. A portfolio company of New York City-based Merida Capital Holdings, 3Fifteen Cannabis has 12 dispensaries in Michigan, including two locations in Grand Rapids and one in Battle Creek. The deal includes Merida Capital Holdings making an $8 million equity investment in Skymint. Skymint now has 27 locations in Michigan, including four in the Grand Rapids area, with plans to open at least three more by the end of 2021 and 15 in 2022.
  • Grand Rapids-based Madcap Coffee Co., which operates two cafes in Grand Rapids and one in Detroit, acquired Blue Boat Coffee earlier this month. Since opening in 2014, the Leland-based Blue Boat exclusively sold Madcap Coffee. “As both a fan and loyal wholesale partner to Madcap Coffee, when I made the decision to sell, they were the logical choice to buy Blue Boat,” owner Susan Kurnick said in a statement. Madcap took over ownership of Blue Boat late last month and will operate it through the rest of the year before a reopening in March 2022 with new branding.
  • Sportsman Tracker Inc., creator of the HuntWise mobile app, sold the business to a Texas-based company that offers online recreational safety education and certification programs. As Sportsman Tracker’s marquee product, HuntWise provides hunters with a set of digital tools, including a feature that helps pinpoint the best times and locations to hunt on both public and private land. The venture capital-backed firm found a buyer in Richardson, Texas-based Kalkomey Enterprises LLC, which partners with both outdoor enthusiasts and state and local government agencies around the world to provide a variety of educational courses.

Expansion

  • Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing Inc. broke ground on an expansion in Grand Rapids to accommodate growth. The contract development and manufacturing company’s plans for the $50 million, 18,000-square-foot fill-and-finish facility on Butterworth Avenue southwest of downtown follow a $60 million, 60,000-square-foot expansion that opened in June 2020. The new large-scale facility “will offer future capacity for new technologies and further growth,” according to an announcement on the latest expansion.
  • Retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate opened a new branch in St. Joseph. The office, on Ship Street, expands Guaranteed Rate’s presence in Michigan to eight locations. The new St. Joseph location is staffed by mortgage consultant Matt Cluff and Shana Chrismon, who’s vice president of mortgage lending.
  • USA Sign Frame and Stake Inc., which produces signs, sign frames and stakes in Ottawa County, announced a nearly $1.23 million expansion that will move operations from Georgetown Township to Zeeland Township. The company, which introduced its first product to the market in 2008 and provides recycled plastic sign frames to both small businesses and large distributors, plans to build a new 11,990-square-foot manufacturing facility to expand production and operations and add an estimated six new jobs over the next two years. 

Health care

  • InterAct of Michigan Inc., a behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment service provider, plans to transition programs to Integrated Services of Kalamazoo by Oct. 1. The nonprofit InterAct attributes the move to reduced public funding and the COVID-19 pandemic that limited the delivery of services. First incorporated in 1991, InterAct contracts with Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health and Network 180, and works with other insurance sources to serve about 2,300 people annually. Most staff can apply for positions with Network 180 and Integrated Services of Kalamazoo.

Real estate/development

  • Hope Network is taking over D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s former campus on Leonard Street Northeast, continuing nonprofit services at the property as DABJ consolidates to a new site. Hope Network purchased the 3-acre property at 805 Leonard St. NE on July 1 for more than $1.63 million, according to city property records. The health care-focused nonprofit has already moved its behavioral health facility to the Leonard campus, where it will also provide an integrated primary care clinic and services for substance use disorders.
  • The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to sell the school’s 11-acre property located along East Beltline Avenue Southeast for $6.25 million. The Grand Rapids campus served as one of WMU’s regional sites and was used for instructional purposes and to host conferences. The property is located near Calvin University at 2333 East Beltline Ave. SE and contains a 38,000-square-foot building.
  • Education-focused furniture manufacturer MiEN Co. plans to consolidate its Walker-based operations into a new headquarters at the former Baker Furniture property along the Grand River in Grand Rapids. The parcel at 1661 Monroe Ave. NW was purchased on Aug. 16 for $6.3 million by Remco Realty LLC, which is registered to MiEN Co. President and CEO Remco Bergsma, according to property records. The mostly vacant property includes two industrial buildings: A 19th-century, five-story historic brick warehouse on the south end of the property, and a 131,000-square-foot single-story warehouse on the north end.
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