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Meijer Inc. (/ˈm.ər/) is an American supercenter chain throughout the Midwest, with its corporate headquarters in Walker, Michigan, which is a part of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.[3][4] Founded in 1934 as a supermarket chain, Meijer is credited with pioneering the modern supercenter concept in 1962. About half of the company's 242 stores are located in Michigan, with the other half in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The chain was ranked No. 19 on Forbes magazine's 2018 list of "America's Largest Private Companies" In 2018.[5] In 2016, Supermarket News ranked Meijer No. 15 in the 2016 Top 75 U.S. & Canadian Food Retailers & Wholesalers.[6]

Meijer Inc.
Private
IndustryRetail (Grocery & Discount)
Gasoline stations
Founded1934; 85 years ago (1934)
Greenville, Michigan, U.S.
FounderHendrik Meijer
HeadquartersWalker, Michigan, U.S. (Grand Rapids mailing address)
Number of locations
Stores: 242
Gas stations: 200
Area served
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin[1]
Key people
Frederik Meijer, former chairman emeritus
Hank Meijer, co-CEO, co-chair
Mark Murray, co-CEO
Doug Meijer, co-chair
Rick Keyes, president[2]
ProductsGroceries, clothing, footwear, gasoline, sporting clothing, bedding, furniture, jewelry, health and beauty products, toys, sporting equipment, electronics, housewares and pet supplies
RevenueIncreaseUS$ 16.6 billion (2016)
Number of employees
77,000 (2016)
Websitewww.meijer.com

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Meijer store in Alpena, Michigan

Hendrik Meijer and his family opened North Side Grocery in Greenville, Michigan on June 30, 1934.

The one-room business offered basic dry goods, dairy and some produce. All four family members, Hendrik, his wife Gezina, and their children, Johanna and Fred, worked in the store. They ran small advertisements in the local paper, purchased items from nearby wholesalers, and transported merchandise with their family car and trailer. They worked nearly night and day to make the business successful. When they changed the store’s name to “Thrift Market” in 1935 they communicated the value of selling quality food at an affordable price. They focused their attention on customer service, opening early, staying open late, and serving all customers equally.

The Meijers built their family-owned enterprise on values that allowed them to grow in a competitive industry: putting customers first, offering quality food at an affordable price, and driving innovation.[7] By the 1950s, one grocery store had become a chain of 10 supermarkets across West Michigan. But their greatest achievement was yet to come. They forever transformed the landscape of retail in 1962 by marketing the unique combination of food and general merchandise in one discount department store. The pioneering supercenter Thrifty Acres was born, establishing the legacy of Meijer Inc. as one of the nation’s most progressive grocers.  

ExpansionEdit

In 1924, Hendrik Meijer purchased a lot in Greenville, Michigan and erected a new building on the site, using part of the space for his barbershop and renting out the rest to other businesses.

In 1935, the North Side Grocery was changed to “Thrift Market”. The Meijers renamed the store according to their value of competitive pricing and high quality. Due to their commitment to remaining focused on customers, offering a healthy and safe retail environment, and pursuit of innovations in retail practices, their customer base grew. An adjacent storefront was renovated in 1937 to double the size.

By 1942 the Meijers opened a second store in Cedar Springs, Michigan. They named the store “Meijer’s Super Market”.

In 1949, the company expanded into the more competitive urban market when it opened two stores in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In a contest, a customer suggests the name “Thrifty” for Meijer’s little cartoon Dutch boy, who becomes an iconic corporate symbol for the next 30 years.

Between 1950 and 1955, Meijer continued to introduce new technologies designed to serve customers better, including electric doors and automated conveyor belts at checkout. Meijer began selling clothing, including infants’ and children’s wear, women’s wear, and men’s shirts and work pants, in all but its smallest supermarkets.  

In 1962, Meijer began catering to suburban customers by opening its first “Thrifty Acres,” a convenient food and general merchandise store that allows customers to shop for just about everything they need in just one trip giving birth to the retail supercenter concept.

In 1964, Hendrik Meijer passed away. His wife Gezina Meijer took over as company President while their son Fred Meijer continued as Vice-President.

In 1965, Meijer opened its first Distribution Center at Three Mile Road and Walker Ave NW, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In 1974, Meijer opened new Distribution Facilities in Lansing, Michigan, including a Distribution Center with 73 shipping and receiving doors, covered rail docks for unloading inside the building, and a 15,000 square feet Fleet Maintenance Facility to service the fleet. Meijer introduced the SI Ordematic Handling system at its Grand Rapids Distribution Center. Known as the “Big Blue Monster,” the $4 million system was the size of a football field and used gravity-fed storage racks to organize shipments of packaged groceries for Meijer stores throughout Michigan. Meijer opened its first store in the greater Detroit area in Canton, Michigan. At 250,000 square feet the new hypermarket was the largest store in the chain. In 1979, Earl Holton became the first company President from outside the Meijer family. Fred Meijer became Chairman of the Board.

Between 1981 and 1989, Meijer opened its first store in the state of Ohio in Newark. Meijer moved to being open 24 hours a day. Doug and Hank Meijer were promoted to Vice Presidents and the introduced the Meijer 1 Card, which eased the shopping experience by allowing customers to pay for purchases directly from their checking account. Between 1990 and 1992, Meijer introduced “We Care about the Earth We Share,” a sweeping initiative in stores including new products, packaging, and companywide environmental sustainability programs. Doug and Hank Meijer are promoted to CEOs and Co-Chairmen of the Board. They also opened the Home Prescription Delivery Service. In 1994, Meijer opened its first stores in Indiana; Mishawaka, South Bend, Indianapolis, Carmel, Fort Wayne, and Greenwood. In 1995, Meijer opened its first Illinois location in Champaign. They opened a distribution center in Tipp City, Ohio, which is its first outside of Michigan. In 1996, Meijer’s private clothing labels included CC Hughes (men’s, women’s and children’s lines including footwear), Whitefish Bay (clothing and footwear), Falls Creek, and MTA Sport (sportswear and athletic shoes). Also in 1996, they also continued its rapid expansion by opening its first store in Kentucky in Florence. In 1997, the first Meijer location in the Northwest Indiana region opened in Michigan City, Indiana, while the first Meijer location in the Chicago region opened in 1999 on Weber Road in the suburb of Bolingbrook.

In 1997, Meijer introduced Cornerstone (basic staples) and Emergency Exit (fashion styles) in the children’s department. The retailer also unveiled the Meijer.com internet site, ushering in a new platform that allowed customers to shop, explore, and connect with Meijer stores. In 2006, all 176 Meijer stores introduced a free prescription drug program designed to help families improve health and wellness. In 2012, Meijer purchased a distribution complex in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, to be renovated to serve stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, and eventually, the western half of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Upon opening, the complex included a High Bay Automation facility using an innovative picking software system developed by a German logistics firm called WITRON. On the 50th anniversary of the first Thrifty Acres supercenter, Meijer announced its move into dairy production with the creation of the Purple Cow Creamery. In 2014, Meijer opens a dairy processing facility at its Tipp City Distribution Center. It is the second dairy in the chain, allowing the family-owned company to manufacture and distribute milk, dairy and organic dairy products to stores throughout Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

In 2015, Meijer opened its first stores in Wisconsin. It also acquired a national specialty pharmacy and health services company. Meijer expanded its network of local growers to include more than 125 farms throughout its 6-state footprint. Meijer launches Curbside service, allowing customers to shop online and pick their groceries up curbside without leaving their car. The company also launches Meijer Home Delivery service in greater Detroit area. In 2016, Meijer opened another distribution complex in Lansing, Michigan. This was a new High Bay Automation center using the WITRON system, bringing the total size of the Lansing complex to 2,722,070 square feet.  

In 2017, Meijer opened its first stores in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Escanaba, Sault Ste. Marie & Marquette).

In 2018, Meijer launched Shop & Scan, an innovative technology allowing customers to skip the lines and use smartphone app for faster shopping.

In 2019, Meijer entered the Cleveland market, opening stores in Stow, Avon, and Mentor, Ohio. At this time, the store count is 246 supercenters across the Midwest.

 
This former Meijer logo was first commissioned in 1984 for the chain's 50th anniversary and was used until July 11, 2004.

OperationsEdit

Meijer stores are classified as supercenters or hypermarkets (a superstore that combines groceries and department store goods in the same store). Many stores also feature an adjacent Meijer-branded gas station, convenience store, and charging stations for electric vehicles. Several Meijer gas stations feature alternative fuels, such as E85, biodiesel, and compressed natural gas. Most Meijer stores are open 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, closing only at 7 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and reopening at 6 a.m. on Dec. 26.

Meijer’s Distribution system has evolved from a small, family operation into a complex and sophisticated network. Today, thousands of team members work at the company’s five distribution centers (Lansing, Newport & Walker, Michigan; Tipp City, Ohio; and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin).

Meijer Manufacturing produces the highest quality products that are developed, packaged and produced at higher standards in the company’s manufacturing facilities (Holland and Tipp City Purple Cow Creameries, Grandville Roasting & Packaging, Lansing Fresh Assembly, and Middlebury Central Kitchen).

Global Sourcing OfficeEdit

Meijer Trading Limited (“MTL”), is a limited liability company incorporated in Hong Kong SAR in 2013, which is the first operation that Meijer Inc. and its subsidiaries (“the Group”) has set up outside the US. The retailer has two offices in Hong Kong and one in Dhaka, Bangladesh. MTL engages in providing direct sourcing services to Meijer Distribution Inc. The scope of MTL’s sourcing is intended to include retail and consumer products such as health and beauty care, automotive, DIY, home décor, electronics, pet products, sporting products, seasonal, home textiles and apparel. MTL is also involved in Indirect Procurement activities for Meijer Distribution Inc.

PharmacyEdit

With more than 50 years of servicing pharmacy customers, Meijer Pharmacy offers a wide variety of services provided at each Meijer Pharmacy location: Immunizations (Flu, Pneumonia, Shingles, Hepatitis B, etc.); Health Screenings (Blood Glucose Testing, Hemoglobin A1c Testing, Blood Pressure Testing, Body Mass Index Testing, Diabetes Risk Assessment, Cholesterol Testing); Medication Therapy Management; Medication Synchronization; Automatic Refills; and Specialty Pharmacy Services. With nearly 50 million free prescriptions dispensed as of 2019, which has saved customers more than $647 million, Meijer is committed to meeting the needs of patients.

Other Meijer conceptsEdit

 
Interior of a Meijer in Southgate, Michigan, which opened in 1994. Since this photograph, this store has been renovated.

In addition to the original Meijer supermarkets and hypermarkets, Meijer opened several concept stores in the 1970’s and 1980’s. The first were specialty clothing store chains called Copper Rivet, Sagebrush, and Tansy. Each store focused on a different form of brand name clothing: Copper Rivet sold Levi's jeans, Sagebrush sold casual wear, and Tansy sold women's clothing. All three chains usually operated in front of existing Meijer stores, or in nearby shopping centers. Meijer began a discount pharmacy chain called Spaar (from the Dutch word for "save"), which opened four stores in 1980 in former Meijer supermarket locations. The Spaar stores were sold to Pontiac, Michigan-based Perry Drug Stores by the mid-1980’s. [12] In 1981, Meijer began opening Meijer Square stores, which were traditional discount department stores lacking a full grocery section.   

Meijer announced in 2009 a new concept in the Chicago region called Meijer Marketplace, comprising smaller stores that focus more on grocery items and pharmacy. Four such stores were eventually opened, in Niles (2010), Orland Park (2010), Melrose Park (2011) and Berwyn (2012). The Niles store closed on June 18, 2016. The Melrose Park and Berwyn stores closed on June 17, 2017, leaving the Orland Park store as the last remaining small-format Meijer in operation.

In 2018 Meijer opened its first Market Format store. This format is a new neighborhood market focused on bringing Fresh Food; Local Products; Meijer and National Brand Products and Great Prices to customers in a market-like setting. As the anchor of a unique mixed-use development on Grand Rapids, Michigan’s west side, Bridge Street Market serves as a model for future neighborhood-friendly developments in a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

 
Interior of Meijer store #33 in Traverse City, Michigan. This store is the largest in the Meijer chain by area.

Notable Donations and ActionsEdit

As a philanthropist, Fred Meijer's most significant contribution has been the land and sculpture collection for the 132-acre (53 ha) Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In 1971, Meijer received special recognition for its environmentalism after installation baling equipment to handle waste paper for recycling. The program salvaged 150 tons of recyclable paper per week, saving an estimated 132,600 trees each year.

In 1979, Meijer does its part to lower energy use during the energy crisis, including reducing store lighting by 50 percent.

In 1986, Meijer participated in a symposium entitled “Hiring People with Handicaps Makes Good Cents!” to encourage businesses to employ staff with physical disabilities. In the next few years, Meijer implemented programs to accommodate those team members.

As part of a health initiative, Meijer implemented a corporate-wide ban on smoking in any of its stores or cafeterias in 1994.

In 2008, Meijer implemented its “Simply Give” program to fight hunger by stocking the shelves of neighborhood food pantries. As of 2019, the program has generated nearly $48 million for food pantries across the Midwest Meijer footprint, thanks to generous Meijer customers and team members.[8]

In 2010, shopping became even easier with the introduction of mPerks, Meijer’s free digital coupon program that give customers access to discounts. Meijer converted its fleet of 170 semi-trucks to clean diesel technology, making it the first retailer in the U.S. to meet the EPA’s near-zero emissions standards and significantly reducing Meijer’s carbon footprint. In 2012, Meijer was ranked No. 88 in a list of the 100 fastest-growing retail chains by the National Retail Foundation's STORES magazine.[9] In 2013, Meijer ranked No. 19 in Forbes list of top 20 Private Companies.[10]

In 2014, Meijer was the first retailer to accept both Apple Pay and CurrentC for purchases in its stores and gas stations.[11][12]

The Meijer LPGA Classic is a women's professional golf tournament in Michigan on the LPGA Tour. Founded in 2014. Tournament names through the years: 2014–2015: Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft and 2016–2018: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.

In 2017, Meijer was the first retailer in the United States to introduce an inclusive sizing program, eliminating the plus-sized department and displaying all women’s sizes on the same racks at the same prices. Inclusive sizing was integrated into all Meijer stores by end of 2017. Meijer also opened its first stores in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In 2018, The Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which is the national benchmarking tool on policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees, gave Meijer a 95 percent score. In the same year, the Disability Equality Index Best Places to Work gave Meijer a 100 percent score. 

Diversity and InclusionEdit

Meijer has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts as follows:

  • Human Rights Campaign, Corporate Equity Index (CEI), which measures best practices for LGBTQ employees, 2018 – 95 percent score & 2019 – 90 percent score.[13]
  • Top 100 Disability Equality Index (DEI) Great Places to Work Award for Disability Inclusion, 2018.[14]
  • 2017 Lakeshore Ability Award for best business practices in disability inclusion.[15]
  • More than 40 Meijer women awarded Top Women in Grocery by Progressive Grocer, 2015-2017.
  • Ohioans Champion Award for disability inclusion practices, 2016 and 2018.[16][17]
  • Exemplary Employer Award by the State of Wisconsin for Disability Inclusion, 2016.


More recently, Meijer adopted Team Member Resource Groups and supports the following:

  • Meet @ Meijer creates a community within Meijer to welcome and support new team members and connect them to the greater Meijer organization and West Michigan Community.
  • Meijer Disability Awareness and Advocacy (mDAAG) is committed to respecting and valuing diversity and inclusion by serving as a resource and liaison for all team members on issues of equity.
  • Meijer PRIDE seeks to engage, develop, retain and empower LGBT+ team members through continuous improvement in company policies, work environment, inclusive support and networking opportunities.
  • MOSAIC creates a community that connects, supports and respects the shared experiences and valued differences of Meijer team members of color to the betterment of each other and the business.
  • Women at Meijer (WAM) cultivates an inclusive environment that supports women in the development of their skills and abilities while further enhancing their leadership and career potential.
  • Young Professionals (YoPro) seeks to empower Meijer’s community of young professionals by improving and developing team member’s professional skills, provide a collaborative network to spark innovation and become engaged with and impact the communities being served.[18]


Meijer has also demonstrated its commitment to diversity and inclusion by sponsoring several underrepresented and minority community events including:

  • Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI).
  • InForum, a Michigan-based, professional organization focused on developing and accelerating careers for women and boosting talent initiatives.
  • International Women’s Day (IWD)
  • Network of Executive Women (NEW)
  • Sisters Who Lead Conference for women of color
  • Summit on Race and Inclusion through the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA)
  • The Special Olympics
  • Various city LGBT+ Pride events

In popular cultureEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ "Store Locator - Find Your Local Meijer Store, Pharmacy, or Gas Station - Meijer.com". meijer.com. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Retailer Meijer picks former pharmacist as new president - mlive.com". Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Ask a Question." Meijer. Retrieved on December 25, 2012. "Meijer 2929 Walker Ave., NW Grand Rapids, MI 49544-9424"
  4. ^ "Street Map." (Archived 2011-01-12 at the Wayback Machine) City of Walker. Retrieved on December 25, 2012. The headquarters is at A4, labeled as "Meijer Headquarters"
  5. ^ "America's Largest Private Companies".
  6. ^ 2016 2016 Top 75 U.S. & Canadian Food Retailers & Wholesalers, Supermarket News, Last accessed 10 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Our Values".
  8. ^ "Simply Give".
  9. ^ "Top 100 Retailers".
  10. ^ "Top 20 Largest Private Companies, 2013".
  11. ^ Colt, Sam (30 October 2014). "Meijer Becomes The First Retailer To Accept Both CurrentC And Apple Pay". Business Insider. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  12. ^ Martinez, Shandra (29 October 2014). "Why Meijer isn't ditching Apple Pay like other retailers". MLive. Archived from the original on 15 February 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Corporate Equality Index 2019" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Meijer Garners Its First-Ever Recognition for Disability Inclusion".
  15. ^ "Meijer Recognized as a Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion". Cision.
  16. ^ "Meijer Receives Champion of Opportunity Award from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities".
  17. ^ "2018 Employer Partners of Inclusion Awards".
  18. ^ "Diversity & Inclusion".
  19. ^ "Full Force". youtube.com. Retrieved 13 August 2019.

ReferencesEdit

  • Meijer, Hank (1984). Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8028-0038-1.

External linksEdit