The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939. It was a tough time for all Americans, something you already know…but halfway thru, in 1934, Hendrik Meijer opened his first store. In the middle of a depression? Sure, why not. Might as well go for it…and he sure did.

The first Meijer was open for business for the first time in Greenville, Michigan called Meijer’s North Side Grocery. Upon his grand opening, he had a total of $338.76 worth of goods, groceries, and merchandise.

He didn’t just stop there…he kept looking for new items, products, and ways to do business. In 1938 Meijer started implementing one of the country’s newest inventions, the grocery cart.

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1941: A second Meijer opens in Cedar Springs
1945: Fifty percent of all Meijer employees were women
1954: The conveyor belt makes its first Meijer appearance, making checkout much faster
1962: The first “Meijer Thrifty Acres” superstore opens in Grand Rapids, offering just about everything a household could need
1976: Meijer stays open on Sundays
1988: Meijer goes 24 hours, every day of the year except Christmas
2006: Free prescriptions
2010: Mperks begins

The local Meijer stores I went to once had pinball arcades and a whole separate video shop off to the side, with hundreds of VHS video tapes on sale…yes, before DVDs. Some even had a little café/eating/snack area up on the second floor. Why did they take those out? It made shopping a little more fun.

Ironic that the very first store back in 1934 was called “Meijer’s”…..nowadays it’s officially “Meijer” without the extra “s”, but we stubbornly call it “Meijer’s” anyway.

Meijer keeps renovating, which drives me nuts…I go down a certain aisle to find something, and it’s been moved two aisles over…or, I go down my grocery list and there’s always ONE thing that I end up having to walk all the way to the other end of the store to get…like toothpaste.

Even so, we still love Meijer and its lasting history proves it. The gallery below has some old photos of the first 1934 Meijer, the inside of a closed & empty Meijer, and a few old mementos.

The First Meijer Store and Meijer Memorabilia


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More Michigan General Stores

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