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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Meijer will debut the first of nine Meijer stores to open in 2005 today in Holland and White Lake Townships, Mich., both of which will generate more than 1,000 new jobs for the retailer's home state.
"It's always exciting to open a new store," said Fred Meijer, chairman emeritus of the chain that bears his name. "We have been fine-tuning our stores for over 70 years to meet the needs of our customer. We feel that we have a store that focuses on our customers and their busy lifestyles."
The new White Lake Township Meijer, located at 6001 Highland Road (M-59), has hired more than 500 people from the community, according to Allen Whipple, store director. "The supercenter format has become the format of choice for shoppers," said Whipple, adding that the chain's "willingness to change and meet the demands of our customers" is depicted in a format "that can compete in today's fierce marketplace."
Commenting on Meijer's new Holland Township unit located at 3320 West Shore Drive, Steve Sanchez, store director, said: "We are bringing to the Holland community our finest store. With the enhancements we have made and the commitment our team members have made to service, we look forward to servicing our new neighbors."
Each new store measures 207,000 square feet, and features a smaller back-room design to enable Meijer to move product quickly from the shipping area to the shelves, which the company says allows for a more effective and efficient flow, and assists in controlling costs.
Over the past several years Meijer has been evaluating every aspect of its operations to enhance the customer's shopping experience while continually seeking cost containment measures to help Meijer keep its prices low and remain competitive.
Among Meijer's efforts to enhance the shopping experience, the stores feature new adjacencies including kitchen supplies and small appliances now located near the grocery aisle. With an eye on convenience, Meijer's baby section now features food, diapers, strollers, and clothing. The pharmacy department has been relocated to the front of the store, with health and beauty care, while jewelry, greeting cards, and floral have been moved up front to provide the convenience of one-stop gift buying.
Other new store design features include wider grocery aisles and lower shelving units to provide more light and create a welcoming atmosphere, while pet supplies are directly across from the grocery aisle.
"Three more Meijer stores are scheduled to open this month. When complete, Meijer will have hired over 3,600 team members," said John Zimmerman, Meijer director of community relations. "Not only do we make an impact in a community with one-stop shopping, we continue to make an impact on the economy by bringing to a community quality jobs."
In other Meijer news, the chain unveiled an alternative bio-diesel fuel at locations in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, Mich.
"It's cleaner, less expensive, and does not rely 100 percent on gasoline," said Brian Horsford, director of gas stations/convenience stores. "We are always looking for opportunities to support local product and for alternatives to the high cost of fuel."
The new product is called B20, a fuel blend made from 20 percent bio-diesel and 80 percent conventional and petroleum diesel fuel. Bio-diesel, a renewable, vegetable oil-based fuel, is among the fastest-growing alternative energy sources in the United States. It can be used in all diesel engines that run on diesel fuel, without any engine modifications, and it has the effect of acting as a lubricity agent, prolonging the life of diesel engines while cleaning the fuel system.
The Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor Meijer gas station bio-diesel pumps were developed with the support of a grant from the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth's Energy Office.
Meijer is a family-owned and operated retailer that operates 165 stores throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio.