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Meijer celebrates 90th anniversary

The Midwest retailer cited customer experience, culture and community engagement as keys to its success.
1934 meijer

Amidst the Great Depression in 1934, Hendrik Meijer, a local barber in Greenville, Mich., took a chance and opened Meijer's Grocery with his wife Gezina and their children, 18-year-old Johanna and 14-year-old Fred, to take care of customers who visited Hendrik's barbershop.

Fast-forward to today and the family-owned retailer is celebrating its 90th anniversary with more than 500 Meijer supercenters, grocery stores, neighborhood markets, express locations and distribution and manufacturing facilities throughout six Midwest states operated by more than 70,000 team members.

"We have built an incredible team here at Meijer that is accomplishing great things and enjoys working together, and they are the reason we've been able to evolve and grow over 90 years from a little grocery store to a new concept in retailing to an agile company with multiple formats," said Hank Meijer, executive chairman. "We continue to look at how we can better serve customers in multiple ways to ensure our first 90 years is just our first chapter."

[Read more: Meijer opens Fairfax Market in Cleveland Innovation District]

"Fred Meijer often said that customers don't need us, we need them, so that focus on earning our customers' business every day has been central to how we've operated," said Rick Keyes, president and CEO of Meijer. "We are constantly evaluating how we can further elevate the experience our customers have when they shop with us, and innovation paired with great prices and excellent customer service will be how we continue to earn customers' business."

"It was important to Hendrik and Gezina Meijer that those who worked and shopped with them felt they were being treated with the dignity and respect all people deserve," Keyes commented. "Ninety years later, that sentiment remains a core part of our values and culture, informing how we treat each other."

[Read more: Meijer doubles down on expanding Black-owned brands selections]

Meijer team members are eligible to receive a variety of benefits, including weekly pay, team member discounts and flexible scheduling. The retailer also heavily invests in the success of its team members, offering career advancement opportunities, free college education, paid parental leave, child care discounts, access to multiple health insurance options and the option for 401(k) retirement contributions.

As a result of these efforts, Meijer was recently recognized as a Great Place to Work for the sixth consecutive year. The Great Place to Work certification recognizes employers for creating outstanding employee experiences based on responses to The Trust Index Survey, an organization-wide assessment of culture. This survey measures employee feedback across organizational culture, credibility, fairness, respect, camaraderie and pride.

Meijer has consistently donated at least 6% of its annual profit to nonprofit organizations throughout the Midwest. This continued effort has positively impacted millions of the retailer's neighbors, the company said.

Supporting hunger relief organizations is a critical part of the company's community engagementspecifically, its Simply Give hunger relief program. Since its inception in November 2008, the Simply Give program has generated more than $90 million in donations to food pantries thanks to the generosity of Meijer customers and team members.

[Read more: Meijer doubles milk discount for SNAP participants]

"My family never wanted Meijer to just be another business," Hank Meijer said. "We've always wanted to be a force for good by helping our communities address their most pressing needs, and we will continue to do that for the next 90 years."

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