Friday, September 26, 2008

A short history of Meijer

An interesting article in the hometown Grand Rapids Press on the origins of the Meijer chain (Meijer is one of my favorite stores; I am willing to drive past several competitors to shop there). Hendrik Meijer founded the original store after a number of other failures, and almost by accident:
"He couldn't get anyone to rent a building he had built for a grocery store, so he purchased $300 worth of stock and opened one himself. I guess he figured if the inventory didn't sell, he could always eat it," Hank Meijer said Tuesday in launching the Meijer Lecture Series at Hope College.
The founding of the first Meijer hypermarket in 1962 was a similar move to make the best of a bad situation:

He had built an adjoining storefront to attract a department store. When no one rented the building, he leased out retail spaces to housewares and clothing vendors.

"It became the retail Tower of Babel, with no one agreeing on anything," Hank said.

A year later, Hendrik took back the space, combining groceries and household goods and putting in his own merchandise. One-stop shopping was born.

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