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Opened more than a half-century ago, Meijer’s first supercenter in Grand Rapids, Mich., has closed, bowing to the retailer’s new store thatopened right next door.
CEO Hank Meijer and other Meijer family members joined city officials Thursday to cut the ribbon on the new store at Kalamazoo Avenue and 28th Street SE in Grand Rapids, a site with historical importance to the company. Founder Hendrik and son Fred Meijer are widely considered to have pioneered the concept of a superstore that combines groceries with department store products.
“As co-chairman, Doug and I speak for our entire family when we say how pleased we are to re-invest in the site where our father and grandfather pioneered the first supercenter,” Hank Meijer said.
The site had become outdated as the retailer struggled to decide whether to relocate or remodel, the Grand Rapids Press reported. With the arrival of the new store, the old store will be torn down, a decision initially fought by neighbors and city-planning commissioners, who felt the new store would be built too close to residences, according to the Press. The official grand opening will be delayed until October so Meijer can tear down the old store and replace it with more parking spaces for the new store.
The new $15 million, 156,000-square-foot store is one of the chain’s midsize designs. The pharmacy is at the front of the store, while grocery runs along the other side and through the middle of the store, flanked by general merchandise ranging from dog food to baby products, the Press reported. The design is intended to minimize walking so shoppers can quickly pick up essential items.
“It has all the upgrades that come with a new store,” Meijer spokesman Frank Guglielmi noted, including roomier aisles, better lighting and more technology features. General merchandise is scaled back, while the food and pharmacy areas remain the same as in larger stores.