Government, Real Estate, and Retail

Meijer store earns Michigan Historical Marker

June 29, 2015
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Meijer store earns Michigan Historical Marker
The original Meijer Thrifty Acres store opened in Grand Rapids in 1962 at 28th Street SE and Kalamazoo Avenue SE. Courtesy Meijer

The state has marked one Meijer store’s place in history.

Grand Rapids-based Meijer said today the Michigan Historical Commission has recognized the original Thrifty Acres Meijer store, which opened at the corner of 28th Street SE and Kalamazoo Avenue SE in June 1962.

A Michigan Historical Marker was unveiled today at the site of what Meijer called “the nation’s first supercenter.”

The original 100,000-square-foot store had a seven-acre parking lot and 18 checkout lanes, a feature that was “unheard of at the time.”

“By piloting a new retail approach that combined groceries with general merchandise in its Thrifty Acres store, Meijer launched an ingenious and very successful model, which had a major impact on retailing throughout the United States,” said Historical Society of Michigan Executive Director Larry Wagenaar, who also serves on the Michigan Historical Commission.

Wagenaar added that Meijer is “a pioneer that still shapes how America shops.”

“We are proud to be recognized for the innovative foresight our father and grandfather demonstrated when they opened Thrifty Acres,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman, Meijer.

“They saw an opportunity to bring families more retail choices and ultimately succeeded in breaking down traditional barriers between selling groceries and selling clothes or hardware. My father and grandfather helped revolutionize retail and left us an incredible legacy to build upon.”

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