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Meijer marks milestone, opens 200th store

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer is marking a special milestone Thursday, May 16, when it opens its 200th store in Swartz Creek, Mich. The store opening will create more than 200 jobs for the community. 

To celebrate the event, the family-owned retailer will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. at the store, located at 4141 Morrish Rd. Meijer officials will be on hand, and the retailer will make presentations to the Swartz Creek Food Bank and the Swartz Creek Civic Center enhancement project.

"We're excited to continue to see our company grow in Michigan," said co-chairman Hank Meijer. "We started local, and we feel it's important to continue to focus on the communities where we're located. Whether it's through donations to local food banks like the Swartz Creek Food Bank, or in supporting farmers across the Midwest, we're focused on growing together with our customers and our surrounding communities."

The Swartz Creek store is the first of six new stores the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer will open this year in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. It also represents a portion of the more than $160 million planned investment in new and remodeled stores Meijer is making this year throughout the Midwest.

"I am very happy that we now have a Meijer store in Swartz Creek for my own use, and for our citizens to use," Swartz Creek Mayor David Krueger said. "I'm sure that our citizens are going to love the convenience of having the store here, and the many job opportunities that Meijer brings."

At approximately 190,000 sq. ft., the Swartz Creek Meijer was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. It will offer competitive prices and includes a drive-thru, full-service pharmacy offering the retailer's free prescription program for oral generic antibiotics, prenatal vitamins and medications for those with diabetes and high cholesterol. The store will also feature a gas station; a wide selection of general merchandise, including apparel, electronics and pet items and a robust grocery department with national and Meijer brand items.

Meijer is also one of the largest purchasers of fruits and vegetables in the Midwest with an economic benefit of more than $80 million annually. The retailer published an infographic showcasing its commitment to locally grown and the relationships it has with more than 100 growers in the Midwest, providing customers with fresh produce year-round.  

"Meijer has a longstanding commitment to buying locally grown produce when available as long as the quality meets our high standards," said Jerry Suter, VP of fresh for Meijer. "It's just one way Meijer supports the communities it serves, and it's an initiative that has expanded during the past five years as the focus on local became more important to our customers."

Michael VanOoteghem, of VanOoteghem Farms, said buying local really resonates with customers.

"We're not a very big farm, but we do a lot of business with Meijer," said VanOoteghem, VP of the Essexville, Mich.-based farm that's provided the retailer with potatoes and cabbage for a decade. "We run into customers and they put a name with a face, and that face also means quality. If they can see that Meijer provides a great quality product, and that it's from a local grower, it gives a boost to the entire community."

Earlier this year, Meijer expanded its program that supports Michigan small businesses to feature 55 new Michigan-made grocery items in all its stores statewide. The goal of the Made in Michigan initiative, launched in partnership with the Michigan State University Product Center, is to help strengthen the state's economy by supporting small businesses.

Meijer opened its first store in 1934. It is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 200 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. 

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