December 21st, 2016

The Right Place assists two manufacturers expanding in West Michigan

Regional economic development organization The Right Place, in collaboration with its state, regional, and local partners announced the expansion of two companies in the Grand Rapids area. The two projects are expected to bring a total of 110 new jobs and $3.78 million in new capital investment to the region.

Advanced Manufacturing Greater Grand Rapids Kent County Business Development Projects

Custom Profile, Inc. and Gabriel to invest $3.78 million, create 110 new jobs

Regional economic development organization The Right Place, in collaboration with its state, regional, and local partners announced the expansion of two companies in the Grand Rapids area. The two projects are expected to bring a total of 110 new jobs and $3.78 million in new capital investment to the region.

CUSTOM PROFILE, INC. (54 new jobs, $2.28 million in new investment)

Photo of Custom Profile, Inc.

Walker-based Custom Profile, Inc. recently acquired a plastic extrusion and finishing company in Wisconsin and will be moving operations to its current location at 2535 Waldorf Ct. NW, Grand, Rapids, MI 49544. With assistance from The Right Place, the company is expected to add 54 new jobs and invest $2.28 million to support the relocation and expansion over the next three years. The project is being supported by a $216,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“After the acquisition of the company, Custom Profile had several options on the future location of the business,” said Jen Wangler, Business Development Manager, The Right Place, Inc., and service lead on the project. “Custom Profile could have kept the operations in Wisconsin or moved them elsewhere. Instead, working together, we were able to bring the operations here to West Michigan.”

Founded in 1992, Custom Profile specializes in extruded plastic projects for the appliance, office furniture, automotive, energy, point-of-purchase, and marine industries. The company provides design support and in-house tooling development as well, with over 180 local employees.

“We are grateful for the support of The Right Place during this new phase of growth,” said Jim Gorant, CFO, Custom Profile, Inc. “With all the operational complexities involved with an acquisition like this, it is extremely helpful to have an organization like The Right Place supporting us locally and ensuring we were able to move these jobs here to Walker.”

This investment and expansion is the latest growth announcement for Custom Profile after several successful years since its acquisition by Blackford Capital, a national private equity firm headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Custom Profile was Blackford’s seventh portfolio company, and its first in Michigan using the firm’s Michigan Equity Investment Fund. This fund aims to generate meaningful equity returns for investors within the state of Michigan, and to support the local economy by protecting and creating jobs locally.

“Since our acquisition of Custom Profile, the ownership team has met all expectations; from building a positive equity value and job creation, to creating a great workplace for our employees,” said Martin Stein, Founder and Managing Partner, Blackford Capital, Inc. “We are proud of Custom Profile’s contribution to the community and of everything they have accomplished.”

“The City of Walker is proud to be home to Custom Profile and pleased to see their continued growth in Walker,” said Mayor Mark Huizenga, City of Walker. “Walker is committed to being a business friendly-community, we have no greater testimony than our businesses that continue to grow and thrive in the City. The city is grateful to The Right Place as we partner; enhancing the economic growth of our city and region.”

GABRIEL (56 new jobs, $1.5M in new investment)

After nearly a year of assistance and support, The Right Place is pleased to announce that Denmark-based Gabriel will open its first North American sales and manufacturing operation in the City of Grand Rapids. The company plans to open a 30,000 sq. ft. facility on the city’s west side at 560 5th St. NW, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The location will bring 56 new jobs to the city with a capital investment of $1.5 million.

Founded in 1851 in Denmark, Gabriel develops, manufactures, and sells upholstery fabrics, components, upholstered services and related products and services for use in fields of application where product features, design and logistics must meet invariable requirements, and where quality and environmental management must be documented

“Over the past year, The Right Place has been a valuable resource in establishing our first location in North America,” said Mr. Lars Malte Hansen, Director of Business Development, Gabriel. “The organization was able to directly assist us with a variety of business needs, as well as connect us with several additional services in the area.”

The initial connection to the company came from Right Place investor, Express Employment Professionals. Gabriel reached out to that firm for human resources support, and Express Employment quickly realized that the company could benefit from the services of The Right Place.

“We were thrilled to welcome Gabriel Group to West Michigan in 2015 and assist with their talent acquisition plans,” said Janis Petrini, Owner of Express Employment Professionals of Grand Rapids. “We were able to help them understand the current labor market in Grand Rapids and the unique strengths our region has to offer. We continue to work closely with Gabriel Group to attract talent and support their growth goals with help from The Right Place."

The Right Place played a key role in serving at the company’s “front door” to West Michigan, in addition to working on the business location deal itself. As this will be the company’s first location in North America, The Right Place provided a wide variety of business services, including connecting the company to partners at: West Michigan Works!, Grand Rapids Community College, Kendall College of Art and Design, and various financial institutions, legal advisors, schools, housing, and others.

“Too often, communities pay too much attention to the business deal itself, not acknowledging the fact that this business will now be operating in a foreign country with little on the ground support,” said Eric Icard, Senior Business Development Manager, The Right Place, Inc., and lead for the attraction project. “That’s where we excel. In addition to the location project, we help the company and its employees connect in the community, learning options for living, attending school, and the list goes on.”

With this latest economic development project, The Right Place, working with its local and state partners, has generated $247 million in capital investment and assisted in the creation of 782 jobs in West Michigan in 2016.