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Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

Advanced manufacturing providing optimized solutions for improved performance, efficiency and value

Eagle Alloy

Eagle Alloy, Inc. – Part of the Eagle Group of companies - Muskegon, Michigan

Serving a diverse customer base and utilizing lean manufacturing practices; one of the premier steel foundries in the country


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan

A commitment to environmental sustainability; keeping the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities a top priority

Culinary Institute

Muskegon Area First: Helping Local Businesses Flourish

The Culinary Institute of Michigan - Baker College's world-class caliber culinary learning environment


Alcoa Howmet – Whitehall, Michigan since 1951

Leading producer of complex investment-cast turbine components for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries

Home » About MAF » News


New use for Nims School: 150 jobs to be created

 Up to 150 jobs planned at health company moving into old Nims School

Updated on June 15, 2017 at 3:35 PMPosted on June 15, 2017 at 3:33 PM


MUSKEGON, MI - A plan by an expanding patient monitoring and telemedicine company to move into the old Nims Elementary School has received an enthusiastic endorsement from city commissioners.

The plan by AvaSure, a Grand Rapids area company, to sink a significant amount of money into the former school building and move in at least three new business units required a planned unit development approval, which the city commission granted Tuesday.

"I'm excited about the project overall," said City Commissioner Ken Johnson, who lives in the Nims Neighborhood.

Brad Playford, owner and CEO of AvaSure, told commissioners the school building will be home to three to four new business units of AvaSys, AvaSure's patient video monitoring system used by hospitals. Those units include an international unit, a new unit called AvaCare that will provide remote video monitoring from Muskegon to health facilities across the country, and a new telemedicine unit, Playford said.

The 12-year-old company is located in Belmont and employs about 100.

Lynn Moore | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

New use for old Nims School planned by patient video monitoring firm

The school was shuttered five years ago.

It's expected that up to 150 new employees will be hired to work out of the Muskegon office over the next five years, said Playford, who has lived in Norton Shores for about a year. They will include medical clinicians such as registered nurses, project managers, sales people, customer service/technical support specialists, and monitoring technicians who will be communicating with patients via video feed.

That patient monitoring, which will be conducted 24 hours a day seven days a week, currently is done inside hospitals, but some have expressed a desire for AvaSys to provide the service, Playford said.

The building, which Muskegon Public Schools closed in 2012 after 100 years of operating as a school, also will house research and development for AvaSys and most likely other community organizations, he said. Playford has been involved with the Muskegon Innovation Hub, operated by Grand Valley State University, that he said he would like to complement with business incubator space.

Playford plans to have AvaSys business operations underway by next year, but first needs to invest a "significant" amount of money on such building upgrades as a new roof, fire suppression system and new heating and cooling, he said.

"It's going to need a lot of money to bring that building back," he said. "It's not inexpensive."

He said he first eyed the school building five years ago when visiting his brother, but at that time didn't have the resources to utilize it.

"Now I do," he said, adding that that he is working with the school district to acquire the building.

The school building is nestled in the Nims Neighborhood, which has constructed a small playground on one corner of the property. Community gardens and playfields also are on the property, which AvaSure intends to keep open to the public.


Economic Development Update - 1st Quarter 2017

Economic Dev Update 1st qtr 2017.pdf 


Liquor that mitigates alcohol side effects to be bottled in Norton Shores

Liquor that mitigates alcohol side effects to be bottled in Norton Shores

By Meagan Beck | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  
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on March 22, 2017 at 7:33 AM, updated March 22, 2017 at 7:37 AM

NORTON SHORES, MI -- A liquor company with a unique business model plans to open a manufacturing plant in Norton Shores.

Bio Care Spirits intends to manufacture naturally blended spirits at property it is leasing at 1224 E. Pontaluna Road.

The company, which already has has six manufacturing plants in Nepal, India and Australia, uses bio-alkaloid herbs and spices to lessen the adverse effects of consuming alcohol.

Bob Grunstra, Spring Lake resident and chairman of the company, said the raw material will be brought to the manufacturing plant, mixed with the herbs and spices and bottled.

He said said the company is not making assertions the product is a cure for hangovers, but it is all-natural with no artificial ingredients.

Norton Shores City Council approved Tuesday, March 21 a tax break for the company. The tax abatement will run six years and concurrently with the company's lease.

The abatement will allow for faster company growth by expanding the product line to the United States, add more bottling lines and employees. In the first two years, the project expects to create 23 new, full-time jobs.

Norton Shores City Council also approved a liquor license for the company. Bio Care Spirits needs state and federal licensing before it can begin blending and bottling spirits.

Bio Care Spirits plans to eventually extend its product line to include brandy, wine, beer and sodas in Norton Shores. There will be no tasting room or restaurant set up at the manufacturing plant.

Grunstra said the primary customer of the product will be distributors for domestic and export markets.

The company and its products are the idea of Dr. B. Srinivasa Amarnath, a holistic doctor from India who knows Rajwinder Grewal of Muskegon's Curry Kitchen.

Grunstra said he and his wife have known the Grewal family for many years. He said Amarnath discussed with Grewal's father in India the possibility of bringing the project to the United States.

Texas and Florida were possible options, but Grunstra said he emphasized the pure water available from Lake Michigan as a reason to bring the company to the area.

"We worked hard to convince him that West Michigan was the place," Grunstra said.

He said the manufacturing plant expects to be operational by October 2017.


American Grease Stick sold to private equity firm


Stout Advises on Sale of AGS Company

January 12, 2017

Stout announced today that its client, American Grease Stick Company (d/b/a AGS), has been acquired by 3 Rivers Capital, LLC (3RC). Stout served as exclusive financial advisor to AGS in connection with this transaction. 

AGS, founded in 1931, is the leading manufacturer of branded automotive fluid transfer lines and related products to the automotive aftermarket. The company, headquartered in Muskegon, Michigan with operations in the U.S. and U.K., sells to a world-class base of customers that include all of the largest aftermarket retailers, such as Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, and Pep Boys, national hardware retailers, and a diversified mix of wholesalers and national, regional, and program group distributors. “We are excited about our partnership with 3RC. With their strategic support and capital, AGS can continue to be innovators in the market place while maintaining the highest level of service for our customers,” said Logan Pitts, President of AGS. 

Rob Carskadden, a Managing Director of 3RC, added “We are pleased with the outcome of the transaction. The AGS management team is very passionate about their business and we are extremely thrilled of the possibilities. We look forward to working with them.” 

Michael Benson, Managing Director at Stout, led the execution of the transaction. Mr. Benson added, “AGS has strong brand recognition and a long and rich history of product innovation in the industry. It was a pleasure working with the AGS team on this significant transaction.” Jeff Shippy, Director, and Eric Ng, Associate, assisted Mr. Benson on the deal. 

Stout’s Investment Banking Group provides mergers and acquisitions (M&A) advice, private capital raising, and other financial advisory services for private equity portfolio companies, closely held or family owned businesses, and divisions of large corporate parents. Stout's dedicated automotive industry practice includes experience with OE suppliers and aftermarket companies. For more information, please visit www.srr.com/industries/automobiles-components

About Stout Risius Ross 

Stout Risius Ross, Inc. is a premier global advisory firm specializing in Investment Banking, Valuation Advisory, Dispute Consulting, and Management Consulting. We serve a range of clients from Fortune 500 corporations to privately held companies in numerous industries around the world. Our clients and their advisors rely on our premier expertise, deep industry knowledge, and unparalleled responsiveness on complex financial matters.

Stout is a trade name for Stout Risius Ross, Inc. and Stout Risius Ross Advisors, LLC, a FINRA registered broker-dealer and SIPC member firm.

- See more at: http://www.srr.com/news/stout-advises-sale-ags-company#sthash.I1YO61Au.dpuf

Camcar Plastics buys former school building

Orchard View sells former elementary school building

Former Jolman School Site
Ochard View school district sold the former Jolman Elementary to Camcar Plastics Inc. (Google Maps)

MUSKEGON, MI - Orchard View school district recently closed on the sale of a former elementary school buildings.

The school district sold former Jolman Elementary School building at 2389 Laketon Ave. to Camcar Plastics Inc.

Jim Nielsen, superintendent of Orchard View school district, said the building had been vacant for nearly three years and for sale during that time period.

He said the sale of the 39,598 square foot was finalized late January. The building was sold for $100,000.

Camcar Plastics Inc. is a Muskegon-based plastic fabrication company. According to a news release, the building was classified as office space but it is unknown what Camcar will use it for.

Jolman Elementary School closed about 10 years ago and was then used for community education programs. Those programs moved to a building the school district purchased at 2900 E. Apple Ave. in 2014. 

The Muskegon Chronicle previously reported the Jolman School building had been plagued with mechanical and boiler issues.


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