Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meijer opens in Detroit

WXYZ previews the event in Meijer preparing to open new Detroit store at Woodward and 8 Mile Road.

That was the preview.  MLive reported on the real thing in Meijer's Detroit store anchors Gateway Marketplace, opens with rare party.
The opening of Meijer's long-awaited Detroit store coincided with the city's first day in bankruptcy court.

But the timing didn't damper the festive mood of the store's invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday, July 24, the eve of when the store officially opens at 6 a.m.

"It doesn't change anything," said Stacie Behler, Meijer's vice president of public affairs. She said the Walker-based retailer remains committed to Detroit and its $20 million investment in a store at Eight Mile and Woodward Avenue.
My reaction to this news is "finally!"  I first wrote about Meijer in Detroit two years ago in Whole Foods to be an oasis in Detroit's Food Desert and repeated it in Whole Foods opening in Detroit next month.
If you had asked me last week which major supermarket chain would have been the first to come into Detroit, the last chain I would have expected would have been Whole Foods. Instead, I was expecting it to be Meijer, which is slated to open a store in the old State Fairgrounds area on Woodward and 8 Mile. Looks like I was wrong.

Honestly, this entire thing doesn't look like an effort to bring produce to the people in the neighborhoods, which is desperately needed, and something a chain like Meijer or Kroger could do. Instead, it looks like a plan to spur on the revitalization of one of Detroit's existing bright spots and make it more attractive to investors and people moving in from outside the area.  That's not a bad idea at all, and it might make for a good start, but it would only be a good start.
I'm not alone in thinking that Meijer's opening is the more important one.  Forbes does, too.

Meijer Store Is Detroit Retail Opening That Really Matters.
Whole Foods Markets appears to have given Detroit neighborhoods near Wayne State University a shot in the arm with its recent opening. But the potentially far more significant opening will occur this week, several miles away, when Meijer sets up shop at the intersection of the two most iconic thoroughfares in Detroit: Woodward Avenue and Eight Mile Road.

At at time of great hand-wringing in Detroit over the city’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing, the establishment of such a significant retail anchor in a crucial area could be a real boon. And Meijer, which used the supercenter concept including groceries long before Walmart did, is really good at running its stores.
And now, after much lobbying by Detroit, Meijer plans to open its very first outlet there: a 215,000-square-foot store that will offer thousands of residents their best and closest access to Meijer’s wide selection and low prices and, specifically, to the fresh produce that lately has been lacking in many areas of the city—and in other “produce deserts” in big cities around the country.
Not only will Meijer take care of the residents of the neighborhoods of Detroit, it has the potential to bring in people from the near suburbs as well as catch people on their way out of the city.  Not only will it bring jobs and food, it has the potential to bring money into the city from outside.  Time to break out Professor Farnsworth.

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