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Meijer marks milestone with 200th store opening

Meijer, a Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer with supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky, will mark a milestone May 16 with the opening of its 200th store.

The new store opening, in Swartz Creek, MI, exemplifies the retailer's commitment to support the communities it serves by creating more than 200 jobs and buying fresh, local produce, Meijer Co-Chairman Hank Meijer announced May 9.logroMeijer has been buying local produce since its doors opened at the first store in 1934.

"We're excited to continue to see our company grow in Michigan," Mr. Meijer said in a press release. "We started local, and we feel it's important to continue to focus on the communities where we're located. Whether it's through donations to local food banks like the Swartz Creek Food Bank, or in supporting farmers across the Midwest, we're focused on growing together with our customers and our surrounding communities."

The family-owned retailer, which opened its first store in 1934, will mark the milestone opening with a ribbon-cutting celebration at the store, located at 4141 Morrish Road in Swartz Creek. The ceremony will include remarks by Meijer officials, along with presentations to the Swartz Creek Food Bank and the Swartz Creek Civic Center enhancement project.

The Swartz Creek store is the first of six new stores Meijer will open this year in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. It also represents a portion of the more than $160 million planned investment in new and remodeled stores Meijer is making this year throughout the Midwest.

At approximately 190,000 square feet, the Swartz Creek Meijer was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards. It will offer competitive prices customers have come to expect and includes a drive-thru, full-service pharmacy. The store will also feature a gas station, a wide selection of general merchandise, including apparel, electronics, and pet items, and a robust grocery department with national and Meijer own brand items.

Meijer is also one of the largest purchasers of many fruits and vegetables in the Midwest with an economic benefit of more than $80 million annually.

Meijer published an infographic showcasing its commitment to locally grown and the relationships it has with more than 100 growers in the Midwest, providing customers with fresh produce year-round.

"Meijer has a longstanding commitment to buying locally grown produce when available as long as the quality meets our high standards," said Jerry Suter, vice president of fresh for Meijer. "It's just one way Meijer supports the communities it serves, and it's an initiative that has expanded during the past five years as the focus on local became more important to our customers."

Michael VanOoteghem of VanOoteghem Farms said that buying local really resonates with customers.

"We're not a very big farm, but we do a lot of business with Meijer," Mr. VanOoteghem, vice president of the Essexville, MI-based farm that's provided the retailer with potatoes and cabbage for a decade, said in the press release. "We run into customers and they put a name with a face, and that face also means quality. If they can see that Meijer provides a great quality product, and that it's from a local grower, it gives a boost to the entire community."

Earlier this year, Meijer expanded its program that supports Michigan small businesses to feature 55 new Michigan-made grocery items in all its stores statewide. The goal of the Made in Michigan initiative, launched in partnership with the Michigan State University Product Center, is to help strengthen the state's economy by supporting small businesses.