Retail News Breaks Archives
Frederik Meijer dies at 91
November 28th, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Frederik Meijer, chairman emeritus of Meijer Inc. and one of the true pioneers of mass market retailing in the United States, passed away on Friday, November 25, after suffering a stroke. He was 91.
Meijer got his start in retailing at the age of 14, when his father, Hendrik Meijer, opened a grocery store in Greenville, Mich. in 1934. After the end of World War II, the company opened its first store in Grand Rapids and began a period of major growth.
In 1962, under Frederick Meijer’s leadership, the company created a format that would ultimately become known as the supercenter, combining a full-scale supermarket with an extensive general merchandise offering. The big-box concept was named Thrifty Acres, but in 1984 the stores were rebannered with the Meijer name.
The chain now operates more than 190 stores in five Midwestern states, with annual sales of about $15 billion.
A generous philanthropist, Meijer’s contributions to Grand Rapids and to Michigan were enormous. His company employs one out of every 100 workers in Michigan, but he also donated millions of dollars to local causes.
Meijer is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lena, and his sons Hank, Douglas and Mark.