(UPDATED COVERAGE, Nov. 30) Frederik Meijer helped build his father’s grocery store into a nearly 200-store chain and legacy of contributions to the Michigan community.
Meijer, founder of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based chain that bears his name, died Nov. 25 at age 91.
According to an obituary on the retailer’s memorial website, www.fredmeijermemorial.com, Meijer opened his first “Thrifty Acres” banner store in Grand Rapids in 1962. Meijer also was one of the longest serving directors of the Washington, D.C.-based Food Marketing Institute. He received the group's Sidney Rabb award for outstanding service in 1985.
Leslie Sarasin, FMI's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement Meijer's leadership and influence helped shape the FMI and its predecessor the Super Market Institute.
"Every industry has its giants whose vision, energy, contribution and even their very names carry formative power," Sarasin said. "The food retail industry has lost one such force with the passing of Fred Meijer. His wit, wisdom and warmth will be missed."
Meijer also was known for his contributions to the community, helping lead urban renewal efforts in Grand Rapids. In 1994, he helped create the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, reflecting he and his wife Lena’s passion for gardening.
He is survived by his wife Lena, a former cashier at his father’s original store, sons Hank, Doug and Mark and seven grandchildren.