GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It has been 50 years since Hendrik and Fred Meijer opened "Thrifty Acres" in Grand Rapids, Mich., marking the birth of the nation's pioneering supercenter and an innovative concept that grew into a retail phenomenon.
"They didn't realize it at the time, but our father and grandfather were making history when they opened 'Thrifty Acres' in June 1962," stated Hank Meijer, co-chairman. "The store offered groceries and general merchandise and enabled customers to enjoy 'one-stop shopping.'"
Since then, the retailer has followed a course of steady growth, expanding into five Midwest states and employing more than 60,000 people in 198 stores, four distribution complexes and several manufacturing facilities.
During the last few years, Meijer has invested in new and remodeled stores, expanded distribution facilities and new technology to help serve its customers better.
"We have always tried to leverage innovation to improve the shopping experience," added co-chairman Doug Meijer. "From the introduction of checkout scanners in the 1970s to the more recent launch of digital technologies, such as our Meijer Find-It App and Mperks digital coupon program, we have worked hard to help our customers save money."
Meijer also has been known as a company that supports the communities where its customers and team members work and live. Each year, Meijer donates more than 6% of its net profit back to the communities it serves through a variety of charitable partnerships.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first supercenter at its original location, Meijer will host a customer appreciation picnic on June 16 at its 28th Street store. This store opened in August 2010 and replaced the original store, which was remodeled and opened as the first supercenter on June 6, 1962. Some of the original wooden arches that supported the roof of the original store now welcome customers at the parking lot entrance.