1934

In the midst of the Depression, 50-year-old barber Hendrik Meijer buys $328.76 of merchandise on credit and opens a small grocery store next to his barber shop in Greenville, Michigan. Future Meijer Chairman Fred Meijer, age 14, begins work stocking shelves.

1936

Meijer’s Grocery is renamed the “Thrift Market.” Hendrik places newspaper advertisement; among the items, a large box of Corn Flakes for 11¢

1937

Store doubles in size. Now the “Thrift Market,” it becomes an early supermarket, with cash sales and self-service shelves.

1938

The Depression still lingers, yet Meijer is able to acquire its first shopping carts—the latest in grocery store innovation.

1939

Meijer acquires its first grocery delivery truck—a welcome replacement for the unstable trailer (with no brakes) previously used to haul merchandise.

1941

With the country at war, Meijer advertises “Aeroplane Quality” and “Submarine Prices.” Hendrik announces, “We pledge our support to any steps the government finds necessary to win this war.” By 1945, half of all Meijer Team Members are women.

1946

Meijer buys its first office building, a vacant potato warehouse. Fred Meijer marries Lena Rader, a Meijer cashier.

1949

The first Grand Rapids Meijer stores open on South Division and Eastern avenues. In a contest, a customer suggests the name “Thrifty” for Meijer’s little Dutch boy, who becomes the corporate symbol for the next 30 years.

1952

A new Meijer opens at the corner of Michigan and Fuller in Grand Rapids.

1954

Meijer speeds products down the checkout lane with the innovative automated conveyor belt for faster and better service.

1955

Responding to the country’s exploding baby boom, Meijer begins advertising on TV’s “Romper Room.”

1959

Meijer becomes the first supermarket to offer a full book of stamps in a single ad. The Dole Pineapple Company offers a Hawaiian vacation to the person named “Meijer Checker of the Year.”

1960

Redeemable trading stamps at Meijer become part of the past as savings are passed on to guests. During the ‘60s, the number of Meijer stores reaches 26 with over 4,000 Team Members.

1962

Meijer opens its first “Thrifty Acres,” a food and general merchandise combination store, on 28th Street in Grand Rapids. Big stores in Holland and Muskegon, Michigan follow.

1963

The Greenville Meijer Store burns for the second time. A newspaper coupon makes up for the extra driving distance, encouraging Guests to shop at nearby Meijer stores.

1964

Founder Hendrik Meijer, age 80, dies peacefully after spending the day visiting with his grandchildren, even trimming his grandson’s hair.

1965

Meijer stores open on Sundays for the first time. Gezina Meijer is listed among the Who’s Who of American Women as she heads the company in her new role as president.

1969

Meijer opens an eight-acre distribution center and builds its first stand-alone office, the Hendrik Meijer Building, in Walker, Michigan.

1976

As the nation celebrates its 200th birthday, Fred Meijer looks to the future: “We think company tradition is good as long as one of the traditions is being an innovator.”

1977

Checkout scanners are introduced in the 28th St. Grand Rapids store, saving both time and money.

1978

Co-founder Gezina Meijer dies at the age of 91. She watched Meijer grow from an expanded barber shop to a large retailing venture, employing nearly 10,000 Team Members.

1980

Meijer offers “Next Day or Free” film and print processing and opens its first stores in Ohio.

1983

Meijer Flower Shops open and Bulk Food departments let guests buy a lot to save a lot. Cabbage Patch dolls arrive at Meijer stores under heavy security.

1984

Meijer celebrates 50 years and buries a time capsule scheduled for opening in 2034, our 100th anniversary.

1988

Meijer stores are now open 24 hours a day and the number of stores climbs into the fifties.

1994

Meijer’s 60th year! We open our first Indiana stores, giving us a total of 76 stores with more than 56,000 team members.

1995

The Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens opens to the public in April, fulfilling a dream of Fred Meijer’s.

1996

Meijer.com is launched.

1997

Meijer opens four new stores in Indiana and Michigan. Of those, Knapp’s Corner in Grand Rapids launches the Store of the Future! Tickle Me Elmo makes the biggest Christmas sensation since Cabbage Patch Dolls.

1998

Approaching the Chicago market, Meijer opens in Merrilleville, Indiana.

1999

Meijer enters Chicago with the opening of the Bolingbrook store. The 24-foot Leonardo da Vinci Horse is unveiled at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

2000

Meijer opens a record 16 stores. Refining our Merchandising and Operations strategy will lead us into the future.

2001

Meijer moves into the Chicago market. Greenville, Michigan gets a new Meijer with the “1.9 Design.”

2002

Co-Chairman, Hank Meijer is named Chief Executive Officer. The company has 156 stores located throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois, and employs around 80,000 people.

2004

Meijer celebrates its 70 years! Meijer embraces a company wide “transformation,” to position it for future growth. With stores in Kentucky and Illinois, team members serve customers in five states.

2006, May

Meijer begins adding E85 Ethanol, a fuel blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, to its fuel offerings at select gas stations. E85 is a mostly renewable fuel that can be made from U.S.-grown corn. Use of E85 reduces greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on petroleum. Currently, more than 5 million E85 capable vehicles are on America's roads.

2006, October

Meijer unveils its free prescription drug program designed to benefit at least one-half million Meijer customers at all 176 Meijer pharmacies throughout the Midwest. The program focuses on the leading antibiotics most frequently prescribed for children and is available to all Meijer customers regardless of their insurance or required co-pays. Mark Murray, Meijer President, shown here introducing the program.

2007

Meijer continues its commitment to healthy living by launching its own private-label brand of more than 200 different organic food items. All Meijer organic products are certified “U.S.D.A. Organic” and are derived using no growth hormones, antibiotics, conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, bioengineering or ionizing radiation.