A local business brokerage saw a flurry of deals close in late 2020.
Michael Greengard, president of Wyoming-based Praxis Business Brokers, said the firm that specializes in mergers and acquisitions assisted with the closing of six transactions in the fourth quarter of last year: the sales of Fourth Coast Café & Bakery and Crow’s Nest Restaurant in Kalamazoo; Melting Moments in Lansing; Muskegon Awning and Fabrication in Muskegon and its Grand Rapids Awnings office, and Coye’s Canvas and Awnings in Wyoming; S&C Plastic Coatings in Walker; Kalamazoo Chuck Manufacturing and Service Center in Schoolcraft; and Ziebart of Lansing in Waverly.
Although the company is prohibited from disclosing specific terms of each transaction, Greengard said the smallest of the six deals was in the $500,000 range, and the largest was in the multimillions.
Greengard shared details of each transaction with the Business Journal.
Muskegon/GR Awnings and Coye’s Canvas and Awnings
David Bayne — owner of Muskegon Awning and Fabrication and its Grand Rapids Awnings location, and Coye’s Canvas & Awnings in Wyoming — sold his businesses Nov. 16 to Joe Keilen, of Ada, who plans to keep them in their current locations at 2333 Henry St. in Muskegon; 3150 Plainfield Ave. NE, Suite I, in Grand Rapids; and 240 32nd St. SE in Wyoming, respectively.
All employees and two key members of the leadership teams will be retained at the businesses.
Keilen said the awning companies — which he described as “cornerstones in the West Michigan marketplace — provided the “perfect business opportunity” after he exited a 25-year corporate career.
“The first months of business operation have provided sales and revenue beyond our projections, and there have been many additional opportunities beyond the norm,” Keilen said. “In addition to our historically served marketspaces, we have been able to focus on the restaurant and commercial hospitality market. We are providing igloos and patio enclosures to businesses as a solution to the capacity restrictions brought on by the pandemic shutdowns.”
S&C Plastic Coating
Sam Simmons, of Wayland, and Gary Courtright, of Grand Rapids — the “S” and the “C” of the business name — sold their company Oct. 30 to Max Johnson, of East Grand Rapids.
S&C Plastic Coating will continue to be based at 2701 West River Drive NW in Walker and all employees will be retained.
Greengard said Johnson was a pleasure to work with and persevered through the difficulties of buying a business during a pandemic and facing hurdles from the Small Business Administration that make it hard to get loans from banks without prior experience in the industry the buyer is seeking to enter.
“Max predictably had no powder coat industry experience and was not as deep-pocketed as most banks wanted. (He) and I refused to give up and finally got longtime SBA banker Steve Wizgird, (of) Key Bank in Ann Arbor, to believe in Max the way the selling partners and I did,” Greengard said. “The bank commitment letter was issued, and additional bullets involving the real estate, which was included in the sale, were resolved with a ‘clean’ phase two environmental. … Eleventh-hour negotiations were required between buyer and sellers to resolve the roofing issues — but the deal got closed, and all parties were happy.”
Fourth Coast Café & Bakery and Crow’s Nest Restaurant
Former owner Chris Danek sold the eateries — which are located in the same building at 816 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo — to three partners from Valparaiso, Indiana, with Jeff Talbot being the lead buyer. The deal closed Dec. 30, and according to Praxis, the leadership team and employees are being retained.
Greengard said facilitating the deal was a challenge for many reasons, including the closure of dine-in for many months in 2020, the business being on the hook for repaying 40% of the Paycheck Protection Program loan it received, and the need for a new roof and asbestos remediation at the property with the building being included in the deal.
“With all these issues threatening the targeted year-end closing, it was a test for buyer, seller and broker to remain calm as issue after issue surfaced,” he said.
Danek said due to the pandemic and the reasons above, it was a tough time to sell, but he believes he found the right buyers.
Talbot and his partners plan to keep the bakery and restaurant in the current location.
“The restaurant industry is in an interesting moment right now, but we see a lot of potential moving forward,” they said. “We couldn’t be happier about the brand, business and great food we look forward to serving at the Crow’s Nest and Fourth Coast Cafe & Bakery. … We hope to keep the strong tradition around for another 20 years.”
Kalamazoo Chuck Manufacturing and Service Center
Duane Burnham sold his machine shop Sept. 13 to Jeff Hiemstra, of Gull Lake. The business will retain its employees and its headquarters at 11825 S. Shaver Road in Schoolcraft.
Greengard said with a highly motivated seller and two strong local buyers, the deal closed smoothly, and there were no issues with the property.
Mark Geovjian, of Williamston, sold Melting Moments to Achille DiNello, of Bloomfield Hills, on Dec. 28. The 37-year-old specialty treat shop founded by Geovjian will remain in its current location at 437 N. Larch St. in Lansing, and its two-person leadership team and its employees will be retained.
Ziebart of Lansing
Robert Golub, of Grand Ledge, sold his automotive detailing and restoration franchise to Drew Nicholoff, of East Lansing, on Sept. 2.
All employees and team leaders will be retained, and the business will stay at its current location at 604 N. Creyts Road in Waverly.
Golub said he owned the business for 10 years, purchasing it during the Great Recession and selling it during the economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, both times using Greengard as the M&A adviser.
“Mike Greengard was able to complete the purchase/sale of the business given these two major hurdles that are unprecedented in normal times,” he said. “(His) knowledge of all aspects of business — banking, finance, taxes, inventory, business valuation, etc. — coupled with his knowledge of the people side of business, is what makes him a true asset to a potential buyer or seller.”
Greengard said being able to represent an entrepreneur twice “adds a very nice flavor to being a business broker.”
More information about the M&A firm is at praxisbusinessbrokers.com.