By Jim Mackinnon// Beacon Journal
Meijer continues making bets on bricks-and-mortar retail in Ohio with the opening of supercenters in Stow and two other Northeast Ohio communities.
The Stow store officially opens at 7 a.m., followed by a ribbon-cutting celebration two hours later with Meijer executives and local officials. The grocery/general merchandise hybrid, at 4303 Kent Road near Fishcreek Road, faces competition from nearby Macy’s, Acme, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Kohl’s and other retailers.
At the same time, Meijer will open similar 155,000-square-foot supercenters in Avon and in Mentor, in what the Michigan retailer says is its first foray into Northeast Ohio. The supercenters feature a grocery on one end and department store merchandise on the other.
The addition of three Northeast Ohio stores means Meijer will have 42 retail locations in Ohio plus a distribution center and dairy processor plant. With the new stores, the privately owned chain based in Walker, Michigan, northwest of Grand Rapids, will have more than 240 supercenters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana.
“We’ve been looking at this area for a while,” said Ken Barclay, Meijer’s Cleveland market director. “Northeast Ohio is a big market for us.”
Barclay said Meijer intends to differentiate itself from its nearby competitors by trying to be a better fit in the local community and also with dedicated employees. The Stow store will have about 300 employees, with about 60 percent working full time.
The Stow supercenter will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will feature a wide variety of produce, including locally sourced items, a pharmacy, as well as merchandise, Barclay said.
In addition, Lakewood-based Addicted Coffee and Ice Cream will lease space inside the front of the store.
“It’s really like a one-stop shop,” Barclay said. “One of the things I like about the [store] design, it talks about the Meijer heritage,” via signs.
The company was founded as a supermarket in 1934 in Greenville, Michigan, by Hendrik and Fred Meijer and over the decades opened other stores. It created its first supercenter in 1962 in Grand Rapids by combining a grocery and department store under one roof.
Meijer expects the bulk of its Stow store customers will come from a 5- to 6-mile radius around the property, with less-regular customers coming from 20 to 30 miles away, Barclay said.
Meijer spokesman Joseph Hirschmugl said the chain has been in Ohio since 1981, when it opened a store in the Columbus area. The company now has about 10,000 Ohio employees, he said.
“We may be new to Akron, but we are not new to Ohio,” he said.