Saturday, June 15, 2013
As an example, The Charter Group was enlisted to review a $12.5 million buyout proposal of a regional distribution company who had been approached by a national competitor.
Their valuation showed the company was worth significantly more, so The Charter Group pursued additional buyers, prompting five additional letters of intent and a final transaction value in excess of $18 million, 50 percent higher than the original offer.
The Charter Group has announced the formation of a dedicated Furniture Practice led by Andrew Williams. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based merger and acquisition advisory firm said the move reflects growing activity and demand for buy, sell and capital raise transactions in the office furniture, residential furniture and home furnishings markets.
Charter made the announcement in Chicago at Neocon, North America's largest furniture and commercial interiors exposition featuring more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors.
Grand Rapids may be known around the world as "Furniture City," but it is also recognized as "Beer City USA." The story of this community's love affair with craft brewing is told in Quenching The Thirst, available for immediate download by clicking here.
The Charter Group has been serving clients from the office and contract furniture industry since 1989 and has closed furniture transactions spanning OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), component suppliers, and dealers ranging from small businesses to national manufacturers and leading brands. The Charter Gropu has also rolled out a comprehensive succession planning advisory package specifically designed to meet the needs of the office furniture dealer community.
"We've gained a solid benchmark on the value drivers of businesses in the furniture sector, and we have the expertise and relationships to maximize the fit and financial outcomes for our clients," said Andrew Williams, CM&AA and vice president, business and transaction management for The Charter Group. "The combination of our track record and the continuing uptick in the industry warrants this expansion into a full practice area, and we hope to continue to offer additional niche service lines in the future."
The Charter Group also served as exclusive merger and acquisition advisor to library and educational contract furniture manufacturer, The Worden Company of Holland, Mich., initiating, negotiating and closing the successful sale of the company.
"As the leading M&A advisory firm in the global headquarters of office furniture, Grand Rapids, Michigan, we have a unique breadth of experience," said John Kerschen, managing director of The Charter Group. "We look forward to the potential for our Furniture Practice and for other specialty areas as the M&A market improves and we continue to grow our reputation nationally."
The Charter Group is a merger and acquisition advisory firm focused on buy, sell and capital raise transactions in the $10 million to $100 million value range. Founded in 1989, Charter is recognized as one of the Midwest's premier M&A advisory firms, with offices in Michigan and Indiana. Charter's track record of success delivering value for clients includes 400+ successful transactions for businesses ranging from $1 million to $100 million+ in revenue. For more information on The Charter Group, please visit www.charter-group.com.
The Charter Group has also been a part of the effort to change the way the world sees Grand Rapids, and as a result, the way Grand Rapids sees the world.
That story is told in Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community, on sale wherever books are sold. For your hardcover, softcover or ebook edition, please click here.
Autographed editions of Last Chance Mile are available at Schuler Books & Music and West Coast Coffee in Grand Rapids, as well as at www.rodkackley.com
Friday, June 14, 2013
|Herman Miller's Canvas Office Landscape w/Mirra Chair|
The Herman Miller showroom and its execution of a Living Office were recognized in both Best of Competition for overall Showroom and Booth Design, and Best Large Showroom.
The annual Best of NeoCon awards for product are judged by interior design and facility management professionals who reviewed more than 350 entries this year.
Herman Miller earned an Innovation Award for the second straight year with the introduction of a brand new material application, expanded polypropelene (EPP), with a new expression of furniture, Metaform Portfolio™. Designed by Studio 7.5 in Berlin, Metaform delineates space and creates diverse sets of Living Office settings with the use of lightweight and intuitive modular blocks that can be easily configured and reconfigured –in the moment- by the people who use them.
Farm to Fork, part of the Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance series of ebook essays by Rod Kackley tells the story of West Michigan agricultural and food processing entrepreneurs.
Farm to Fork is available for immediate download by clicking here.
Herman Miller Collection’s new Eames Molded Wood Side chair earned a gold award for Guest Seating, and Locale™ added a silver in the Furniture Benching category. Geiger was also acknowledged with a gold in Casegoods for Catalyst Phase II.
Herman Miller Healthcare continues to be recognized as a leader in healing spaces and furniture as Nemschoff’s Terra™ was awarded the Silver Award in the Healthcare Furniture category. This marked the fourth consecutive year Herman Miller Healthcare has received an award.
The best of NeoCon awards, now in their 24th year, are sponsored and organized by Contract magazine, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., The International Interior Design Association (IIDA), The International Facility Management Association, and the McMorrow Report.
The office furniture industry made Grand Rapids, Michigan the "Furniture City" and is still a part of the West Michigan community. However, the people of Grand Rapids are trying to change the way the world sees their neighborhoods, and in the process are changing the way they see the world.
That story is told in Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community, available in hardcover, softcover and ebook editions by clicking here.
A new player is coming on to the office furniture stage. This player has money and is ready to invest. That story will be post tomorrow, as the reinvention and renaissance of manufacturing continue in Michigan.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
|Steelcase Gesture Chair|
The 24th annual Best of NeoCon awards, hosted by Contract Magazine, recognize the top new commercial interiors products introduced at NeoCon each year.
"Innovation is a critical issue for all organizations. Drawing on over 15 years of innovation research, Steelcase has created a portfolio of products that leverage technology to empower people," said Allan Smith, vice president of marketing at Steelcase. "We are pleased to be recognized by the Best of NeoCon competition for this achievement."
Was it politics or economics? How did Right-To-Work become the law of the land in Michigan? The answers are in Outrage in Michigan, available now for just 99 cents by clicking here.
Steelcase won a Gold award for V.I.A., vertical intelligent architecture, which was designed to create spaces that help fuel the innovation process. V.I.A. not only defines space, but redefines the role vertical real estate plays in an interconnected workplace. It hosts the latest large-scale video and display technologies, offers unprecedented acoustic privacy, and easily reconfigures to support rapid change.
The Gesture chair from Steelcase also won a Gold award. Gesture is the first chair designed to support our interactions with today's technologies. It was inspired by the movement of the human body and created for the way we work today, with today's most prevalent devices such as smart phones and tablets.
Nurture by Steelcase won a Gold award for Regard™, a new customizable system solution that can adapt to a variety of healthcare spaces. Designed with healthcare environments in mind, Regard™ solves for transition times in a patient's healthcare journey that are typically not productive and commonly referred to as "waiting". Regard™ directly addresses issues of comfort, privacy and the need to connect.
Coalesse won a Gold award for Lagunitas, a comprehensive seating and table collection. Lagunitas creates a "third place" anywhere while offering multi-modal support and varying degrees of privacy through high and low panels. With a unique articulating back cushion, Lagunitas adapts to changing work styles and shifting work postures and allows for toggling between both lean forward and lean back postures.
Finally, Buoy by Turnstone received an Innovation Award. This stool that wobbles and spins and encourages movement thanks to a curved based, just like a buoy. Buoy's innovative, customizable design encourages self-expression among young, active people and boosts performance by keeping the body in motion and the mind active. It's seating that bucks the trend of sedentary lifestyles and work styles.
The Best of NeoCon 2013 awards were selected from approximately 325 entries in 39 different product categories.
Herman Miller has a good NeoCon, too. That story will be posted tomorrow.
Like many other cities in the United States, Grand Rapids, Michigan has struggled with redeveloping its economic identity after the devastation of the Great Recession of 2008. Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community demonstrates how Grand Rapids has been redefined as a hub for the greatest scientific minds in the world by developing what has come to be called the “Medical Mile.”
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community is available in hardcover, softcover or ebook formats by clicking here.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Detroit CFOs Report Third-Quarter Hiring Plans
Survey Finds Majority of Companies Optimistic About Business Growth During Quarter
DETROIT, June 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Twelve percent of chief financial officers (CFOs) in the Detroit area expect to add new professional-level positions in the third quarter, according to the Detroit Professional Employment Forecast from Robert Half . Ten percent of respondents will not be hiring, even to fill an open position, and 7 percent plan to reduce staff levels. Another 70 percent said they will hire for roles that open during the next three months.
Most executives are optimistic about their business prospects for the third quarter. More than nine in 10 (93 percent) CFOs expressed confidence in their company's growth potential for the quarter, with 38 percent of respondents saying they are very confident.
The survey suggests, however, organizations looking to expand and add staff may face difficulties. The majority of the CFOs surveyed, 59 percent, said it is at least somewhat challenging to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today.
Detroit is fighting its way out of the Decade From Hell, as former Governor Jennifer Granholm put it. The story begins in The Great Collapse by Rod Kackley
This ebook essay is available now for just 99 cents. Click here for immediate download.
"With business confidence high in the Detroit area, companies will need to add people to their teams as they grow," said Robin Ankton, regional vice president for Robert Half in Detroit. "The demand for skilled, professional-level talent is strong in Southeast Michigan, and only companies that offer the most competitive compensation and benefits packages, as well as career growth opportunities, will attract and win the best candidates."
The Professional Employment Forecast was developed by Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialized staffing firm, and conducted by an independent research firm. The local results reflect a two-quarter rolling average based on interviews with 200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Detroit area with 20 or more employees.
CFOs were asked, "What are your company's hiring plans for full-time professional-level employees in the third quarter?" Their responses:
Expanding -- adding new positions
Maintaining -- only filling vacated positions
Freezing -- not filling vacated positions or creating new ones
Reducing -- eliminating positions
Don't know/no answer
*Numbers do not total 100 percent due to rounding
Grand Rapids, Michigan avoided the worst of the worst decade in Michigan's history. But it wasn't easy. The story of how the people of Grand Rapids are changing the way the world sees their community is told in
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community, available in hardcover, softcover and ebook editions by clicking here.
He also said that municipal bankruptcy is an option.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways (I love my cars)
By Rod Kackley
I had forgotten that about her. She is one of those people who personify their cars. But I come from metro Detroit. The Motor City. The land of automobiles where brand loyalty is everything. Where you didn’t dare drive a foreign car until the 1990s unless you wanted to be branded a rebel, or worse.
Do you name your car? Do you talk to it? You are not alone. A survey reveals our relationships with cars mimic our relationships with people.
And often, they are better.
If there's one thing we can commit to, it's our cars. AutoTrader.com recently conducted the "Automotive Relationship Survey" to determine the emotional reasons why it now takes longer than ever before for us to break up with their cars.
According to the survey, we tend to personify our cars to the point that the relationship with them mirrors relationships with living beings in our lives.
More than 70 percent of respondents feel "very attached" or "somewhat attached" to their cars, with 36 percent describing their vehicle as an "old friend" and more than a quarter saying they feel sad when they think about parting ways with it. Dependability (65 percent) and comfort (52 percent) were the primary drivers of attachment.
The survey also revealed gender and generational differences in the relationships people have with their cars. More women than men said they were attached to their cars because of the way it looks (48 percent of women vs. 29 percent of men), while more men than women bond with their cars because of fond memories of the adventures they shared together (57 percent of men vs. 20 percent of women).
Survey respondents aged 18-24 were most likely to be attached to their car for its looks (50 percent), while respondents aged 55-64 were most likely to be attached to their car because of the way it drives (60 percent).
"The emotional attachment people feel for their cars is interesting, but not completely surprising," said life coach and relationship expert, Dr. Michelle Callahan. "In addition to the large financial investment, a car can become a significant emotional investment – it's there with them for major milestones in their lives like weddings, new babies and graduations and it's literally the 'vehicle' that makes being physically present in these moments possible."
Given this attachment, when it comes time to let go of a car it can be an emotional moment. More than a third (36 percent) of people wanted to see their car "go to a good home" and over two-thirds of those surveyed (65 percent) would want to "say goodbye" to their car by spending quality time together on a road trip or by driving a favorite road.
I understand this. I did feel an emotional tug when the tow truck took my 1997 Chevy Lumina (with more than 275,000 on the odometer) away from the house for the very last time.
I can tell you a story about every car I have owned from the 1965 Dodge Coronet with the back-panel damage that jammed the trunk lid — I needed a crowbar to pry it open — to the 2011 Kia Rio I am driving now.
"Summer is known as the season when people find new love. So while breaking up is never easy, this is a perfect time to let go of relationships that are holding you back," says Dr. Callahan. "There are things you can do to minimize the emotional fallout from a breakup—and that applies even to your vehicle.”
“The good news is you can make a clean break and when it comes to cars, there can be a significant financial upside to doing it right."
~ LCP ~
Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance, a five-part ebook essay series tells the stories of the
Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance, as the name would imply also tells the stories of Michigan's factories opening for business, people going back to work, and new entrepreneurs leading us into a new era.
Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance, available wherever ebooks are sold including Amazon and Vook.com.
Grand Rapids, Michigan is so typical it screams average, with perhaps one difference. The city is
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community tells the story of how some of the richest people in the world teamed up to lead Grand Rapids, Michigan through ten of the worst years in the city's history.
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community is available wherever books are sold including Schuler Books & Music and West Coast Coffee in Grand Rapids, as well as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Abbott Press.
Autographed editions are available at www.rodkackley.com and will also be available June 29, 2013 during a New Writers Event at Barnes & Noble inside Woodland Mall, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It seems that the worst is over. General Motors did better in May 2013 than the company has done since September 2008 when the bottom fell out of the Detroit auto industry.
DETROIT – General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) sold 252,894 vehicles in the United States in May, up 3 percent compared with a year ago. Retail sales increased 9 percent, fleet sales were down 10 percent and the fleet mix was 26 percent of total sales.
“Cadillac is growing faster than it has in almost 40 years, the pickup rebound is in full swing and we’re seeing strong retail demand for our crossovers” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of U.S. sales operations. “These are all powerful signs that the gradual recovery in the economy is becoming more broad-based. That’s great news for the auto industry and General Motors.”
GM’s trucks sales were up 15 percent versus a year ago, including a 23 percent increase for large pickups and a 30 percent increase for large SUVs.
Crossover sales were up 3 percent. Compact crossover sales were up 10 percent and set a monthly record behind the Chevrolet Equinox, which had its best month ever. The Equinox has now posted 17 consecutive monthly sales increases.
Retail passenger car sales were up 2 percent while total sales were down 6 percent. Lower fleet sales were due primarily to the timing of customer deliveries.
May 2013 Sales
May Highlights (vs. 2012)
- Cadillac’s 40 percent sales increase marked its best May since 2007.
- Chevrolet had its best retail sales month since August 2009.
- Retail sales of GM’s redesigned medium crossovers were very strong: the Chevrolet Traverse was up 14 percent, and GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave were up 15 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
May Highlights (vs. 2012) - continued
- Strong Chevrolet Spark sales and double-digit increases for the Buick Verano, Chevrolet Sonic and Cruze drove a 27 percent increase in sales of mini, small and compact cars.
- The Chevrolet Cruze had its best May sales ever, and the Sonic had its best month ever.
- Chevrolet dealers delivered more than 2,350 all-new 2014 Impalas.
Calendar Year-to-Date Highlights (vs. 2012)
- The last time Cadillac delivered a larger year-to-date sales increase was in 1976.
- Buick retail sales have increased for 13 consecutive months.
- Truck sales were up 12 percent, including a 22 percent increase in sales of large pickups and a 23 percent increase for large SUVs.
- Crossover sales were up 17 percent and car sales were essentially equal to a year ago.
- GM’s fleet mix was 26 percent, which is in line with the company’s full-year strategy.
Units @ May 31
Days Supply (selling day adjusted)
Units @ April 30
Days Supply (selling day adjusted)
May SAAR (est.)
Calendar Year (est.)
GM Full Year Forecast
15.4 million range
15.0 – 15.5 million range
Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance, a five-part ebook essay series that begins with the Great Collapse, is available wherever books are sold online, including Amazon and Vook.com.
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community tells the story of how the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan are changing their community.
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community is available wherever books are sold. Autographed editions are available through www.rodkackley.com
Monday, June 3, 2013
The best news of the week for the Detroit Three will come Thursday when General Motors rejoins the S&P 500.
However, we certainly saw some excellent sales figures out of the Motor City June 3.
- Best May sales since 2007
- 38th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains
- Eight Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in May; Jeep® Wrangler and Jeep Compass record their best monthly sales ever
- Ram Truck brand sales up 24 percent; largest percentage sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand in May
- Dodge Dart, Dodge Durango, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler 200 Convertible are segment award winners in Strategic Vision's "Total Quality" awards
- FIAT brand reaches new milestone in May as North American sales surpass 100,000 units since its reintroduction in 2011
Chrysler Group LLC scored U.S. sales of 166,596 units, an 11 percent increase compared with sales in May 2012 (150,041 units), and the group's best May sales since 2007.
The Jeep®, Dodge, Ram Truck and FIAT brands each posted year-over-year sales gains in May compared with the same month a year ago. The Ram Truck brand's 24 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand in May. Chrysler Group extended its streak of year-over-year sales gains to 38-consecutive months in May.
"Our best May sales in six years enabled us to extend our sales streak to 38-consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains," said Reid Bigland, Head of U.S. Sales. "We continue to see strong retail sales throughout our product lineup as eight Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in May, including best sales ever by the Jeep Wrangler and Compass."
The Jeep Compass' 42 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Jeep brand vehicle in the month. Sales of the flagship Jeep Grand Cherokee were up 21 percent in May compared with the same month a year ago, its best May sales in eight years. All Jeep brand vehicles in production recorded year-over-year sales gains in May.
Eight Chrysler Group vehicles set sales records in the month of May. The Jeep Wrangler and the Jeep Compass SUVs each recorded their best sales ever. In addition, the Dodge Avenger and Dodge Challenger, the Fiat 500, the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan, and the Ram pickup truck were among the Chrysler Group vehicles that registered their best sales for the month of May.
That's just one of the May 2013 sales reports that showed us the reality of the manufacturing renaissance in the Motor City.
Here's what Ford did:
- Ford Motor Company's May U.S. sales up 14 percent compared with a year ago; best May sales since 2006 with retail sales up 17 percent
- Escape delivers best month ever – sales up 26 percent year over year; Fusion sales up 10 percent – Fusion's best-ever May; both achieve monthly sales records for four straight months
- F-Series, America's best-selling pickup for 36 years, posts a 31 percent increase – best May sales since 2005 and first time F-Series breaks the 70,000 mark since March 2007
- Lincoln MKZ delivers its best-ever May sales performance
- Ford announces 2013 third-quarter production of 740,000 vehicles, up 10 percent from the prior year
Ford Motor Company's U.S. sales grew 14 percent in May, with cars up 9 percent, utilities up 15 percent and trucks up 18 percent. Retail sales increased 17 percent, marking the best May retail sales results since 2005.
"Our fuel-efficient Fusion and Escape have set monthly sales records for four straight months," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "F-Series sales – fueled by construction growth and pent-up demand – reached their highest level in more than six years."
Fusion posted its best-ever May sales of 29,553 vehicles – with its strongest areas of sales growth in the western and southeastern areas of the U.S.
The fuel-efficient Escape small utility posted its best-ever sales month since being introduced 13 years ago – a 26 percent increase with 29,123 vehicles sold last month.
America's best-selling pickup, the F-Series had its strongest May sales result since 2005.
F-Series' 71,604 sales in May represented a 31 percent increase versus last year and its 22nd straight monthly sales increase.
F-Series' 71,604 sales in May represented a 31 percent increase versus last year and its 22nd straight monthly sales increase.
In May, Lincoln MKZ sales increased 42 percent versus last year. This represents MKZ's best-ever May sales, building on MKZ's best-ever sales month in April.
In addition, Ford announces its 2013 third-quarter North American production. The company plans to build 740,000 vehicles in the third quarter, up 10 percent from the 673,000 vehicles produced in the third quarter of 2012.
The third quarter plan includes the company's recent announcement to add 40,000 vehicles from a reduced July summer shutdown and the addition of 200,000 units of annualized straight-time capacity starting in the fall of this year.
~ LCP ~
Restore The Roar: Manufacturing Renaissance is a five-part ebook essay series that tells the story of the entrepreneurs who are behind the resurgence of Michigan manufacturing, available now through Amazon and Vook.com.
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community tells the story of how the people of Grand Rapids, Michigan are changing the way the world sees their community and the way the community sees itself.
Last Chance Mile: The Reinvention of an American Community is available now wherever books are sold online including Abbott Press.
Autographed editions are available through www.rodkackley.com and will be available June 29 at Barnes & Noble in Woodland Mall, Grand Rapids, Michigan.