Lakeshore and Manufacturing

Charter House Innovations acquires Greystone Seating

August 30, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Charter House Innovations acquires Greystone Seating
Greystone Seating manufactures theater and auditorium seating. Photo via fb.com

Holland-based Charter House Innovations has acquired Zeeland-based Greystone Seating and will complete the move of Greystone's equipment to Holland on Friday.

About 15 Greystone employees, which includes all sales, design, engineering and production teams, will continue working in Charter House’s two manufacturing facilities in Holland, according to Charter House president and owner Chuck Reid.

Terms of the acquisition were not released.

Charter House acquired Greystone’s book of business and equipment, not the Greystone real estate.

“We finished the purchase last Friday afternoon,” Reid said this morning, “and then we started moving all this stuff over to our Charter House operations Monday. We finish up today.”

Greystone ownership team

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

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

Niche seating makers

Greystone makes theater and auditorium seating, while Charter House’s primary business is the production of seating for fast-food restaurants, “the McDonald’s and Burger Kings of the world,” according to Reid. He said much of Charter House’s business is in Central America, Mexico and Canada, in addition to the U.S.

Reid described Greystone seating as “the highest quality. That’s what we like about it.”

Greystone’s primary chair line was developed in the 1990s by Visteon, a division of Ford Motor Company, as automotive seating for Mustangs and Lincolns.

“What I’m told is, it’s the only theater chair that has passed a crash test,” joked Reid.

“But, they are very comfortable,” he added.

Holland growth

Charter House now has two plants in Holland.

The original plant is the former Hart & Cooley site on 8th Street and the second was acquired in December, a 100,000-square-foot plant on 40th Street, where Charter House now manufactures metal parts for its product lines.

Reid said that with the addition of the Greystone workforce, Charter House now employs a total of about 225 or 230 people. The company does not divulge its annual sales revenue.

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

“We’re anxious to get it going and get everybody all moved in. We think (Greystone) is a terrific product and one that will help us open doors” for further promotion “of the Charter House line as well.”

“Plenty to do” in manufacturing

Greystone’s Kooiker said the transaction with Charter House “was a very cordial handoff, and we’re cheering those guys on.”

Kooiker, who is also an owner of another manufacturing company, Lake Michigan Wire Technologies, said “all manufacturing is doing very well” now, “so we’ve got plenty to do,” even without Greystone.

Presidential audience

Reid, who is also the owner of the LEED Gold certified CityFlats Hotel in Holland, was named Michigan’s Small Businessman of the Year for 2010 by the U.S. Small Business Administration and, as a result, attended a National Small Business Week function at the White House. At the event, he was one of just three of the award winners selected to meet privately with President Obama in the Oval Office for a few minutes.

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

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