Hendrik Meijer and his 14 year old son Frederik Meijer began what is now known as Meijer Inc. during the Great Depression as North Side Grocery in Greenville, Michigan. Hendrik’s bold move of opening his first store with $328.76 worth of groceries on credit paid off. A first-generation Dutch immigrant, Hendrik proved to be a savvy businessman, and his store doubled in size within three years.
By 1960, the company had over two dozen stores in West Michigan and in 1962 introduced consumers to one stop shopping with its “Thrifty Acres” stores. Prior to his father’s death in 1964, Fred had already taken over the responsibility of running the growing retailing operation. The stores became a tremendous success under the leadership of Fred Meijer, and are now led by his sons Hank and Doug. Meijer now has over 200 stores in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
A true renaissance man, Fred was a wildly successful entrepreneur, philanthropist, and patron of the arts. In 1995, he and his wife, Lena, were instrumental in creating the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, reflecting their respective passions. Fred’s longstanding support for learning at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) included gifts for the Frederik Meijer Honors College and the Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors in Allendale; the Meijer Public Broadcasting Center on the Pew Campus; and a land gift to build the Meijer campus in Holland.
To celebrate the family’s three generations of success, the Meijer family would like to help the next generation realize their dreams. The Meijer Foundation has established the Frederik Meijer Opportunity Endowed Scholarship to attract and assist students who will be the first in their family to pursue and receive a degree from a college or university.