The Meijer Family and Meijer Grocery Stores

By: Mollee Nieto 

Meijer is not only a grocery store, but a family oriented corporation which was opened for the Greenville community in a time when they were struggling the most. On top of the Meijer family opening a successful grocery store, they have also funded many other great causes and creations in the Grand Rapids area. “Today, Meijer remains a privately-owned and family-operated company with more than 245 stores and employs more than 70,000 team members” (

Meijer grocery stores were created in the 1930’s during the great depression, a time when people were unable to provide for their families. Hendrik Meijer saw the people around him struggling and bought $338.76 worth of food and basic necessities for his loyal customers of his barber shop. It was this moment when Hendrik and his son Fredrick opened the first Meijer grocery store in Greenville, Michigan. In 2006 after years of growth in the corporation Meijer introduced its first pharmacy, which was, “designed to benefit at least one-half million Meijer customers at all 176 Meijer pharmacies throughout the Midwest” (

Hendrik Meijer’s grocery stores impacted the community by providing relieves and essential resources to his customers at their greatest time of need. Since the thirties, Meijer has grown by acquiring shopping carts, automatic conveyor belts, launching mPerks, and moving their business over 6 states. Meijer has also impacted the communities it serves by opening two hunger relief programs in local areas. The Simply Gift Program provides stock for the local food pantries of their town, and The Food Rescue Program donates all its leftover food, which would have gone to waste otherwise, to local food banks as well. As Fred Meijer always said, “Customers don’t need us, we need them.”

An additional accomplishment of the Meijer family was their involvement in the creation of Frederick Meijer Gardens. In 1995, after spending thirteen years fundraising money, the West Michigan Horticultural Society went to Fred and Lena for their support and ideas for the Gardens, which they were happy to provide. The Meijer’s were passionate about the idea of bringing a cultural attraction to west Michigan through a nonprofit privately owned organization. The Meijer family was not concerned with making money off of the Meijer Gardens but instead they were interested in providing art and cultural education to their customers. “Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts.” (
The story of the Meijer family and their grocery store is a story not shared enough. The Meijer family has provided hundreds of job opportunities for West Michigan and is constantly providing necessary supplies to their community. In order to get involved with the community, volunteering at The Simply Gift Program, The Food Rescue Program, or The Frederik Meijer Gardens are great ways to provide to the community. “Meijer supports a wide variety of nonprofit organizations by donating more than 6 percent of their net profit to charity each year” (

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