By Jim Newell
ORION TWP. — A new nearly 90,000 square foot Meijer Grocery is set to open on Thursday and the development brings 180 new jobs to the area.
Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said the development is a win-win for the township, with the grocery chain investing millions to add a new building in the township while creating more jobs in the community.
“We couldn’t be more excited about Meijer choosing Orion for a first-of-its kind small format grocery store in the Meijer portfolio. Not only are they cleaning up a blighted and long-time vacant site, they are investing millions of dollars and creating nearly 200 jobs to fill a great need in our community. For the last decade, we have been asking our residents what types of businesses they would like to see more of in our community. In every single survey, the top answer has been the same – more options for grocery shopping. Meijer listened and our residents will benefit for years to come,” Barnett said.
Meijer Grocery is a new concept store for the Meijer Corporation and will open in Lake Orion at 6 a.m. Jan. 27 in the Lake Orion Plaza off Lapeer Road. Regular store hours are 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week.
Mary Kimbrough, store director of the Lake Orion Meijer Grocery, said the store has 180 “team members” and is focused on providing residents a good, cost-saving shopping experience.
“We really wanted to make sure that we gave the neighborhood exactly what it needed, which was a grocery store where you can get in and out quickly,” Kimbrough said, “whether you forgot spices or you want to come in and do your whole (shopping) needs for that week.”
Customers to Meijer Grocery will not find clothing, pots and pans, a garden section or some of the other specialty sections they would find in a Meijer superstore.
Instead, Meijer Grocery focuses on the “regular” needs customers have on weekly basis. There is fresh, frozen and canned foods, a pharmacy with a drive-thru, an aisle with baby essentials, a full pet department, floral and cards, bakery, deli, butcher shop and beauty care.
Meijer is part of the redevelopment of the Lake Orion Plaza on Lapeer Road. Meijer broke ground on the new store in January 2022, building in the area of the former K-Mart store, next to Planet Fitness, which went into the Hollywood Market space after it closed in January 2018.
For local small business owners like Alaina Campbell, owner of Cookies and Cream and Sprout Bake baked goods, Meijer’s commitment to supporting local vendors is a boon for a company such as hers.
“We are so appreciative of Meijer. Their commitment to supporting local food producers is phenomenal,” said Campbell, adding that Kimbrough selected Sprout Bake products from a sales pitch Campbell made in February 2022.
“She knew we were here in Lake Orion, she tasted our product, she loved it. I’m just very appreciative to have our product here. It means a ton to us as a small business that’s a startup. Trying to get our product out there, it’s difficult.”
Meijer Grocery will carry such local fare as Sprout Bake products, Cooks Dairy Farm ice cream, Buddy’s Pizza, Blake’s Cider Mill goods and a selection of Michigan wines.
In addition to supporting local and state vendors, Meijer made a commitment to support a local food pantry that helps those in need of assistance.
Kimbrough presented a $10,000 check to Pastor Jim Dahlke of Woodside Bible Church and Keith Aldridge, owner of Canterbury Village, to aid the Village Food Pantry at Canterbury. The pantry is a partnership between Canterbury Village and Woodside’s Community Outreach program.
“Thank you for all that you do for our community. I’ve been there, it’s just amazing what they do for the community,” Kimbrough said. “Meijer finds that making sure helping our communities is extremely important and we’re honored that we’re able to partner with you.”
“On behalf of the Village Food Pantry, we want to thank Meijer for their generous donation. We can’t do it without them. It’s awesome to be a part of this and be able to partner with you guys,” Dahlke said.
Meijer also will sell $10 Simply Gift cards for ongoing support of food pantries.
The store also offers its traditional mPerks rewards program, a Shop and Scan checkout, Meijer Home Delivery and Pickup.
By Jim Newell