Meijer celebrates its 90th anniversary as a family-owned Midwest retailer

July 4, 2024
The retailer cites customer experience, culture, and community engagement as its keys to success.

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, the company's 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."

Focusing on the customer

From the beginning, Meijer has been focused on making its customers' shopping experience the best it can be. In addition to low prices and great customer service, innovation has often been key to exceeding customer expectations. Over the last 90 years, these innovations have included introducing shopping carts, automatic doors, conveyor belts, supercenters, self-checkout lanes, mPerks, curbside pickup, home delivery, and shop-and-scan capabilities.

"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, Meijer president and CEO. "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."

Community engagement

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

Supporting hunger relief organizations is a critical part of the company's community engagement – specifically, 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.

"My family never wanted Meijer to just be another business," Hank Meijer reinforced. "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."