• 30
    Nov
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    Detroit Meijer Makes Headlines, Innovating Its Business For The City
    Featured image by Jack Amick via Flickr

    We think a lot about branding, which means thinking about the way companies tell their stories. Last month, we highlighted an iconic Detroit brand, Vernors. This month, the new small-format Detroit Meijer has us thinking about how companies are adapting their stories to fit Detroit’s powerful narrative. It’s a store that’s making headlines because it’s in the Jefferson Corridor, and it’s going to be bringing apartments and parking space with it.


    West Michigan Origins

    Many think Meijer began in Grand Rapids, but the company was actually started in Greenville, MI, about 35 miles outside of GR. In 1934, Hendrik Meijer was a barber in Greenville, and he wanted to make life easier for his community during the Great Depression. So, he bought $338.76 worth of goods on credit and incidentally started a business that would grow to reach shoppers throughout the Midwest.

    By 1945, Hendrik had expanded. At this point, half his workforce was female, an effect of WWII (think “Rosie the Riveter” and all the Detroit women working in bomber plants like my husband’s grandmother).


    From Meijer To Thrifty Acres To Meijer Again

    In 1962, the family changed things up again by opening an altogether new type of store. They called it Thrifty Acres, something you’ll still hear older Michiganders say when referring to Meijer Superstores. Back then it was an innovative market that allowed shoppers to buy groceries alongside general merchandise, making them a one-stop shop. However, the company changed their name back to Meijer in 1986.

    Today, Meijer has established stores throughout Michigan and Ohio as well as Indiana, Illinois, and as far away as Kentucky.

    Detroit Meijer Groceries Example

    Image by David Mulder via Flickr


    What’s Unique About The Detroit Meijer?

    Detroit is not new to having a Meijer. In fact, we already have two of them, one at 1231 W. Eight Mile and the other on 21431 Grand River. The difference with this new Detroit Meijer is that it’s smaller, a newer format for the company.

    The Meijer Superstores many of us are used to are about five times as big as the one being built on 1475 East Jefferson, which is going to be just over 42,000 sq. ft. The new location will make it easier for people to conveniently shop for groceries without having to leave the city.

    This innovative development also includes about 350 underground parking spots and more than 200 apartment units. These apartments are affordable, which means “residents will have reduced rent based on the area’s median income,” according to MLive. To top if off, we at Detroit Sign Factory are excited because it’s being built only half a mile from us!

    A Good Omen For Detroit


    The new Detroit Meijer will be open in 2019. We still have a while to wait, but the addition of new housing, retail, and commerce to the area will mean good things. For those of us who live in the city, it means another place to shop that will keep our money invested in our neighborhoods. It also signifies more growth in the E. Jefferson/Rivertown Corridor, which means more local businesses (and more local signs).

    Meijer has created countless jobs, and they’ve literally put food on our tables. They’re not only an iconic Michigan brand, but they’re also a good omen for Detroit, a city on the rise.