Meijer has opened its first two stores in the Upper Peninsula.
The Grand Rapids-based retailer officially opened the doors to their new stores in Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie Thursday morning, and the crowds were large.
Meijer President and CEO Rick Keyes was in Escanaba for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. He says that his company is happy to expand north of the Mackinac Bridge for the first time.
“I think it’s been long overdue,” Keyes told the Radio Results Network. “When we opened our distribution center in Kenosha, Wisconsin, it made it very easy for us to come up the west side of the lake and serve Escanaba and Marquette, and some of these areas. So, we were finally able to, from a logistics standpoint, to make it up to the U.P.”
He says a Marquette store will be opening in 2018.
Both of the new U.P. stores that opened on Thursday are 192,000 square feet and will employ roughly 300 people.
The Escanaba store also includes a full-service Starbucks Coffee Restaurant and Huntington Bank branch office. Escanaba Mayor Marc Tall cut the ribbon to welcome Meijer to the community.
“Folks who have shopped at Meijer stores below the bridge and in Wisconsin and Illinois have told me that they enjoy the wide aisles and the friendly, knowledgeble staff,” Tall told RRN News. “They really like the fresh produce, and all of the amenities that are here. People have been waiting for a long time, and now it’s open!”
During Thursday’s ceremony, Meijer made $25,000 donations to the Upper Peninsula State Fair, and to the Escanaba Area Public Schools. In the Sault, checks were presented to Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Program, as well as to the Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools.
“We are very, very thankful that they recognize the Upper Peninsula State Fair as an organization that is worthy of that type of contribution,” U.P. State Fair Manager Vickie Micheau told RRN News. “We have 100,000 people who come through the gates every year for the Fair, so for our Fair-goers within our Delta County borders, and beyond, we’re very, very thankful for this contribution.”
An official grand opening celebration will be held on Sunday at both the Escanaba and Meijer stores.