Meijer offers bright spot in bankrupt city

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As lawyers face off in the first battle over Detroit’s bankruptcy bid, Meijer is preparing to open its first store in the economically depressed city at the Gateway Marketplace shopping center.

The 190,000-sq.-ft. store, at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds, will include a pharmacy with walk-in health screenings, immunizations, pharmacists trained in diabetes and a drive-through, as well as produce and other merchandise.

"We are thrilled to offer the Meijer experience to our new neighbors," co-chairman Doug Meijer said. "There's so much history and pride here, so many people who've lived their entire lives in the city of Detroit, that the opportunity to provide healthy living options and help encourage growth is something our company is grateful to be part of."

The new Meijer store is of particular significance to Detroit, which last week became the largest city in U.S. history to declare bankruptcy and which has struggled for years with a declining population and economic collapse.

The company is emphasizing the donation of more than 6% of net profit to such charitable organizations as food pantries and partnerships with local farmers and businesses, such as Detroit-based Atwater Brewery, whose State Fair Pale Ale will be featured at the store.

"The opening of Detroit's first Meijer store means new jobs, continued economic growth and greater convenience for the residents of our city," Detroit mayor Dave Bing said. "As the anchor of the new Gateway Marketplace shopping center, Meijer represents another important business investment that is transforming Detroit into a retail destination."