Local partners acquire Alpena HVAC and the plumbing company

Max Brother. Courtesy of Calder Capital

The managing partner and an advisor from Calder Capital joined forces with two other investors to acquire Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating from Alpena.

Grand Rapids-based business broker Calder Capital said on Tuesday October 12 that it recently facilitated an unusual transaction – the buyer of a client the company was advising on a sale walked away, and the associate Calder Director Max Friar and M&A Advisor Matt Baas joined two other investors to acquire Alpena-based Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating.

Terms of the contract are not disclosed.

Founded in 1959 by Walter and Theresa Weinkauf, Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating is a family-owned second generation plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company located in Alpena. Weinkauf’s factory-trained professionals provide plumbing services on any system for commercial, residential, industrial and institutional customers. They also sell and install furnaces, air conditioners, boilers, stoves, fireplaces, sinks, faucets, toilets and other HVAC systems.

Prior to the sale, the business was owned and operated by siblings Rob Weinkauf, Karen Lankheet, Alan Weinkauf and Steve Weinkauf. The four co-owners were approaching retirement age and wanted to ensure a successful transition for the company, its employees and its customers. They hired Calder Capital in 2020 to find a buyer. Calder and the company entered into negotiations with a potential buyer, but the individual abandoned the transaction.

Matt Baas. Courtesy of Calder Capital

Friar and Baas said Weinkauf was “a strong and stable investment opportunity” that attracted them, but living four hours from Alpena, they were reluctant to buy the business without a qualified local operator. After the original buyer gave up, Friar and Baas began looking for an Alpena-based person with management-level construction experience to become a potential owner-operator. Baas found Luke Gerhart on LinkedIn and Friar messaged him. Gerhart said he would be interested in discussing the transaction.

“We had a very pleasant first phone call with Luke,” Baas said. “The next week Max and I went to Alpena and met Luke for breakfast. The atmosphere at the meeting was solid and we were on the path to acquiring the business. “

Mark Zimmer, Belmont-based construction project manager at Team Restoration and a long-time friend of Friar’s, then became the fourth member of the investor group.

“Mark has assisted us in many construction projects through his leadership at Team Restoration. We trust Mark and think he would be a strong member of the group, ”said Friar.

After the acquisition closed on August 31, Gerhart assumed a leadership role in the company.

“I am excited to continue what the Weinkauf family have built,” said Gerhart. “… Our group is committed to investing in the company, its employees and the community of Alpena.

On behalf of Calder Capital, Baas served as the principal M&A advisor to the shareholders of Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating.

“This transaction has been an interesting and rather remarkable adventure,” he said. “… We were determined to find a solid fit for them. Rarely do you have four business owners and four investors doing a deal. There were a lot of moving parts, communication was key and it was exciting to see the parts fall into place.

Dan White, of White, Wojda and Curtis, served as legal counsel for Weinkauf Plumbing & Heating. Andrew Longcore, of The Business Law Group, acted as legal counsel to the buying group. Funding for the transaction was provided by Jeff Kleinschmidt and his team at Old National Bank.