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Local flavor: Meijer's Michigan stores to feature food products made in the state

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer's stores in Michigan will "prominently" feature 49 products made in the state as part of a program to promote local businesses, the mass merchandise retailer said.

The chain is partnering with the Michigan State University Product Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources to launch the "Made in Michigan" initiative, whereby 33 stores will feature 49 such grocery items as marinara sauce, blueberry butter, gluten-free baking mixes and gourmet seasonings in specially designated areas of the store starting on Sunday.

"Meijer is always pleased to support Michigan businesses," CEO and co-chairman Hank Meijer said. "Also, there is tremendous interest from our customers to buy local and to support local businesses. This is why we continuously increase the amount of products we purchase from local suppliers and companies. This partnership with the MSU Product Center presents a great opportunity to enhance our selection of Michigan-made products and produce, further making Meijer the place for one-stop shopping."

The initiative would be an ongoing feature and is expected to generate $400,000 for the Michigan economy, MSU Product Center project manager Matt Birbeck said.

"We couldn't be more excited about this program," Birbeck said. "Working with Meijer to implement a dedicated Michigan section for its customers is a win-win situation for everybody."

Meijer isn't the only retailer featuring locally made products. Seattle-based retail pharmacy chain Bartell recently launched a new store format that also prominently features products from Washington state in its "Urban Market" section. Meanwhile, Duane Reade often features "Restaurant Row" endcaps in its stores, stocked with sauces and other food products made by New York restaurants and entrepreneurs.

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