California private equity firm relocates headquarters, brings seven investment jobs to Grand Rapids

Irvine, California-based private equity firm Blackford Capital has relocated its headquarters to Grand Rapids' Heartside business district (15 Ionia SW) to be closer to its Midwestern clients. That move has generated seven new jobs for financial and market analysts, researchers and support staff, says owner Martin Stein.

Blackford invests in mature businesses with $20M to $100M in revenue and earnings that range between $2M and $10M. The company works with business owners who want to retire or leave the company. Stein says his current portfolio of companies have about 750 employees and create some $200M in revenue.

"Seventy percent of our investments are in the Midwest and on the East Coast, so it was redundant to have an office in Irvine and one in San Francisco," Stein says. "Ninety-five percent of our investments have been in manufacturing, and while we have investments across the U.S., there's an abundance of manufacturing here in the Midwest."

Blackford Capital has leased some 1,800 square feet of office space at 15 Ionia SW and is conducting "business as usual," even though the dust is still settling.

Stein says that when he graduated from Forest Hills Northern High School in 1990, there were no jobs in West Michigan for the type of private equity investing he wanted to do.

"We're looking to hire analysts, staffing support and fund administrators," he says. "We made offers to all eleven of our employees to come with us, and three considered it but decided to stay in sunny California. We've been recruiting from local colleges, looking for students who wouldn't otherwise have opportunities to start a career in the type of finance we do."

Source: Martin Stein, Blackford Capital; Kristie Burns, Lambert, Edwards & Associates
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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