Let’s do some word association. Ready? Where is the first place you think of when you hear the word “Meijer”?
The first thing that comes to my mind is Michigan. Meijer IS Michigan; it is OF Michigan; and it is FOR Michigan. Meijer has a history of supporting Michigan causes and there is no better example than its sponsorship of the Michigander Bicycle Tour.
MTGA is delighted to partner with Meijer for the third consecutive year on an event that is home grown, family friendly, and features the beauty of Michigan’s trails.
The corporation is based in Grand Rapids and works to keep business close to home, as half of the company’s 196 stores are in the state of Michigan.
Founded in 1934, Meijer started as a chain of supermarkets and has grown into a regional household name in the eastern Midwest. Meijer was ranked number 13 on Forbes’ 2011 list of America’s Largest Private Companies and 1 in every 100 Michigan workers is employed by the brand. The corporation is credited with being the first hypermarket in the United States, combining a supermarket and department store into a one-stop shop.
Frederik Meijer, late Chairman of Meijer, Inc., helped his father, Hendrik Meijer, establish the Meijer brand and inherited the corporation in 1964. Fred is known as a generous philanthropist, supporting education at Grand Valley State University, funding several private community projects, and even promoting his Dutch heritage by creating a paid position aptly named the “Frederik Meijer Chair of Dutch Language and Culture” at Calvin College in Grand Rapids.
Fred Meijer was also a large supporter of trails and outdoor recreation spaces. He is quoted as saying, “Ninety-five percent of folks live in the city and never get to experience the rural areas surrounding them.” In 1994, he donated $265,000 to help purchase an abandoned rail corridor in Greenville, MI. The trail runs for more than 40 miles between Greenville and Alma, and provides residents with a safe and beautiful multi-use trail.
Today, the Fred Meijer Trails Network connects west Michigan and provides recreational opportunities for the residents of the Grand Rapids area and visitors alike. Each trail has their own unique route, but the Meijer name links them all with Fred Meijer’s compassion for the people and the state of Michigan.
Michigander is proud of the Meijer Foundation’s efforts toward connecting Michigan in a unified trail network. Meijer’s generous donation takes care of the Michigander SAG stop expenses and provides wonderful auction items for both the weekend and week-long auction events.
On behalf of Michigan residents and the MTGA, we say, “Thank you, Meijer!”