Blackford, a national private equity firm, and Gun Lake Investments (GLI), the economic development arm of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, have since indicated interest in a continued partnership, executives told MiBiz.com.
“We need to partner with smart and experienced people,” said Kurtis Trevan, CEO of GLI.
Eric Kamstra, Blackford Capital’s director of investor relations, agreed: “We’ve been really impressed with the team at Gun Lake. …We think highly of the work they’re doing,” Kamstra told MiBiz.com. “Both groups would love to find ways to work together. Our investment criteria and approach to investing are strongly aligned. Whenever you find somebody like that in the marketplace, you want to find opportunities to continue to do business together.”
Beyond Blackford Capital, Trevan said that GLI intends to connect with other regional investment groups. GLI has its eye on investing in “commercial real estate or mature middle-market companies with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) between $500,000 and $1.5 million,” MiBiz.com reported. As Trevan told the publication, GLI acts as a “relatively passive player,” taking majority or minority stakes through investments with a “buy-and-hold strategy.”
Since its 2014 debut, and becoming operational roughly two years ago, GLI has made five investments, and the firm is looking for more ways to expand economic opportunity for tribal members and the greater West Michigan community. Among those investments, in February 2017, GLI invested in the tribe’s first-ever non-gaming economic development project, Noonday Market, a $4.4 million fuel and convenience store.