Charter House Innovations gets state grant for expansion


Charter House Innovations in Holland, which acquired Greystone Seating in Zeeland earlier this year, has been awarded a $200,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to aid it in its expansion, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The MEDC said Charter House plans to invest up to $3 million in its expansion and expects the expansion to ultimately create at least 50 new jobs. The anticipated new jobs are the basis for the performance-based grant from the state.

Charter House is a designer and manufacturer of seating and décor for fast-food restaurants, as well as hotels, universities and fine dining establishments. The expansion will allow it to reach new markets and add new technologies and processes to its operations, according to the MEDC.

Charter House president and owner Chuck Reid told the Business Journal in August that about 15 Greystone employees, which includes all sales, design, engineering and production staffs, would continue working in Charter House’s two manufacturing facilities in Holland.

Terms of the acquisition were not released. Charter House did not acquire the Greystone real estate, just the book of business and equipment.

Larry Kooiker, president and owner of Agritek Industries in Holland, was one of the owners of Greystone. When Charter House acquired the business in August, Kooiker said Charter House is “a great bunch of people” and that they should be able to integrate Greystone easily into the Charter House business.

Kooiker, with Bill Maddox and Key Portfolio LLC of Holland, bought the Greystone business in 2010 and moved it to Zeeland from Byron Center.

Greystone makes theater and auditorium seating, which Reid has described as “the highest quality. That’s what we like about it.” Its primary chair line was developed in the 1990s by Visteon, a division of Ford Motor Co., as automotive seating for Mustangs and Lincolns. Reid likes to joke that Greystone’s product is “the only theater chair that has passed a crash test.”

Charter House has two plants in Holland, the former Hart & Cooley site on Eighth Street and a 100,000-square-foot plant on 40th Street where Charter House now manufactures metal parts for its product lines.

Reid said in August that with the addition of the Greystone work force, Charter House employs more than 225 people. The company does not divulge its annual sales revenue.

“We started with 38 (employees) in 2004, so we have grown nicely,” said Reid.

Reid is also the owner of the LEED Gold certified CityFlats Hotel in Holland. He was named Michigan’s Small Businessman of the Year for 2010 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and was invited to attend a National Small Business Week function at the White House, during which he and two other award-winners met privately with President Obama in the Oval Office for a few minutes.

In June, Reid and Noel Cuellar of Primera Plastics in Zeeland were named to the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year list in Michigan.

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