Inside a 130-year-old Michigan Book Printing House

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A 130-year-old Grand Rapids book publisher has a new owner.

Blackford Capital, a Grand Rapids-based private equity firm has bought Dickinson Press, a full service book printing services provider.

Founded in 1884, Dickinson has a niche religious printing segment. Geography might be a factor in the company’s longevity, with more than half of the country’s printers are in the Midwest.

Also setting the publisher apart is its ability to print on thin, lightweight paper sets. Dickinson does lithographic and digital printing, perfect and case binding, and warehousing and fulfillment services.

“Dickinson is a trusted partner to the world’s most renowned religious publishing companies, and the company has a presence in other market segments such as media groups, financial and manufacturing businesses and education,” said Martin Stein, founder and managing director of Blackford Capital, in a statement.
Under its new ownership, Dickinson will diversify its client base by expanding into automotive, healthcare and higher education book printing, Stein said.

Blackford is also providing capital to grow the company through acquisition, he added.

The company operates out of a 120,000-square-foot facility, 5100 33rd St. SE, with a 120-person West Michigan workforce. Blackford recently held an open house to mark its August purchase of the company.

Dickinson produces books and printed materials including bibles, dictionaries, reference books, novels, children’s books, and a variety of other printed literature for the religious, business and education markets.

The publisher’s management team will remain in place with Ray Sevin continuing his role as chief executive officer.

Sevin said Blackford has the resources and talent to bring the business to the next level.

Dickinson is the fifth acquisition by Blackford’s Michigan Prosperity Fund, which invests exclusively in Michigan companies. Previous investments include Fenton-based Burgaflex, Grand Rapids-based Custom Profile, Inc., Metro Detroit-based Mopec, and Grand Haven-based Grand Transformers, Inc.

Investment banking firm New Direction Partners represented Dickinson Press in the sale and will be partnering with Blackford and Dickinson Press moving forward as the company aggressively pursues add-on acquisitions.

~Source: Shandra Martinez With MLive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *