Meijer opens its doors

Stores locate in Escanaba, Sault

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press Meijer leadership and team members, along with Escanaba’s mayor take part in a ribbon cutting during the soft opening of the new Meijer store in Escanaba Thursday morning. The Escanaba location of the 24-hour superstore was one of two stores to open Thursday in the U.P. Shown, from left, cutting the ribbon are Meijer team member and meat cutter Dion Kuczewski, CEO and President of Meijer, Inc. Rick Keyes, Meijer team member Ed Schaefer, Escanaba Meijer Store Director Jeff Kietzman, Escanaba Mayor Marc Tall, and Meijer team members Harley Wunder, Lisa Waters and Jessica Hongisto.

ESCANABA — Hundreds of community members attended the soft opening of the new Meijer supercenter. To commemorate the occasion, Meijer senior leadership, Escanaba Mayor Marc Tall and other local dignitaries took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick-off the supercenter’s arrival.

“I am here to say one important word: ‘Welcome,'” said Mayor Tall during the opening ceremony.

The Escanaba Meijer store was the first of the supercenters to open in the Upper Peninsula Thursday, with a second location opening in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. later on Thursday. Escanaba’s location is 192,000-square-feet and is open 24-hours a day, 364 days a year.

Meijer, Inc. is a Grand Rapids based retailer that operates more than 113 stores in Michigan, along with other locations in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. In total, there are more than 230 Meijer locations that provide “fresh produce delivered daily, affordable, high-quality merchandise and a full-service pharmacy that makes family health care a priority,” according to the company.

In addition, the store also features a Starbucks coffee shop and Huntington Bank. Huntington Bank also has a location on Ludington Street in Escanaba.

Meijer also offers local shoppers electronics, hardware, toys, homegoods and a grocery section.

President and CEO of Meijer, Inc., Rick Keyes, was present for Thursday’s festivities, and said he and the rest of the Meijer family are excited to finally be in the U.P.

“We have been looking forward to this for years,” said Keyes. “We are finally in the U.P.”

Site plans were approved for the Escanaba Meijer back in 2015 with construction beginning in the spring of 2016.

In total, the Meijer store, along with its gas station/convenience store, sits on 48 acres of land. The construction project of the grocery store, gas station, and three new blocks of roadway cost the retailer around $15 million to build. The new roadway now connects 3rd and 6th avenues.

“We are excited about coming and servicing this community,” said Keyes.

According to Escanaba Store Director Jeff Kietzman, it took about 300 team members roughly six weeks to prepare the store for its opening.

“It’s been outstanding,” said Kietzman. “It’s a great community.”

Kietzman, who is new to the area, has been working with the Meijer company for 18 years.

Before the ribbon cutting was performed, Keyes and Kietzman presented Escanaba Area Public Schools and the Upper Peninsula State Fair Authority each with checks for $25,000.

Kietzman explained that Meijer and its Simply Give program gives back more than 6 percent of its net profit to charitable organizations annually, and each of its stores works with local food pantries and banks to help combat hunger at the local level.

Meijer will hold a grand opening on Sunday, May 21, and will hold a variety of events throughout the coming weeks. On Sunday, the store will kick-off the events with the first 200 customers receiving a gift card with a value of $5, $10, or $20.