Flagstar Going In Four Meijer Stores

July 12, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Flagstar Bank plans to open banking centers in four Meijer stores in Grand Rapids over a six-month period beginning in September.

Flagstar struck an agreement with Meijer Inc. Tuesday to incorporate banking centers at Meijer locations at 3757 Plainfield Ave. NE, 5531 28th St. SE, 1997 East Beltline NE and 2375 Kalamazoo Ave. SE.

The Plainfield and 28th Street locations are tentatively scheduled to open for business in September. Of the remaining two, one will open later this year and one in early 2005, said Executive Vice President Sandro Dinello.

They’ll offer full service every day, operating from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“The hours that we’re open are the hours that the far majority of customers actually come to the store,” Dinello explained.

All Flagstar’s in-store banking centers have extended hours that include Sundays, said corporate spokesperson Susan Cherry. Flagstar begin establishing in-store branches in 2000, she said.

The bank has a number of in-store branches in Wal-Mart stores in West Michigan, including Kalamazoo, Plainwell, Muskegon, Big Rapids and Ludington, as well as in some of its other markets in Michigan and Indiana.

The new branches will be the first to be located within Meijer stores, Dinello said. As to the length of the leases he would only say that they were “long-term commitments.”

The in-store branches will vary in size from 400 to 600 square feet, and Flagstar will renovate the spaces at its own cost, Dinello noted.

Flagstar currently has four traditional bank branches in Grand Rapids, two in Holland and one in both Hudsonville and Grand Haven.

Meijer operates 159 stores throughout Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Ohio, and most of them include a banking center, said Meijer spokesperson John Zimmerman.

“It’s a tremendous convenience for our customers and it’s a great draw for the banks because of all the traffic that we get through our stores. For our guests it’s ideal because the banks are open Saturdays and Sundays when they’re in there doing their shopping. If that is their bank of choice, then it’s a great convenience for them and it adds to the one-stop shopping experience.”

Zimmerman said Meijer lease agreements require that in-store banking centers maintain extended hours of operation weekdays, as well as to be open Saturdays and Sundays.

“It’s important because we want those leased spaces to be open. It defeats the one-stop shopping concept if they’re closed.”

Meijer has adhered to the store-within-a-store concept for many years, reserving space for three or four “in lots” in each of its stores and leasing them to businesses such as banks, shoe repair shops and beauty salons.

The new Meijer store in Rockford, for instance, will have a Meijer Credit Union branch, a cellular phone company and a Starbucks outlet.

The length of the lease agreements depends on what fits the needs of the business and what fits the needs of Meijer, Zimmerman said, adding that most leases are fairly long term.

“When a bank comes in they want to make sure they have stability and want their customers to know they’re staying. Typically, bank leases in our stores are rather long.”           

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