When Meijer debuted its smaller-format neighborhood market store Woodward Corner Market, in Royal Oak, Michigan, on Jan. 29, 2020, the grocer didn't anticipate that the location would be operating during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Yet even in the face of challenging times, store leadership moved forward with numerous programs to make it easier for customers to shop.
“When we opened our doors a year ago, we promised to meet the community’s needs. We just didn’t realize the challenges 2020 would bring at the time,” said Woodward Corner Market Store Manager Natalie Rubino. “I am so incredibly proud of my team for banding together to overcome them to support our community the way we did.”
For example, Woodward Corner Market:
- Offered grocery delivery through Shipt in January 2020 for those who didn’t want to shop in-store.
- Established a partnership with local restaurants, including Zeoli’s Italian, Bobcat Bonnies and Garden State Chef, last summer to offer ready-made meals through the Woodward To Go program.
- Launched the Flashfood program in October 2020, which allows customers to purchase food nearing its sell-by date — like meat, produce, seafood, deli and bakery products — at up to 50% off on the Flashfood app, and then pick up their order at the store.
- Launched the Meijer mPerks savings program in April 2020 to help customers save. To date, mPerks digital coupons are applied to 30% of the store’s transactions.
- Dramatically increased its local offerings, adding Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes, Metamora Greens, Riker’s Dog Treats and Mab’s Atomic Mustard to its already extensive lineup of local artisan products.
Overall, Woodward was also able to increase its assortment of locally made or sourced products by 60% in its first year.
Additionally, to solidify its commitment to the community, the retailer hosted a food truck at Beaumont Hospital every weekday in April for hospital employees in response to the pandemic.
“In the words of Fred Meijer, ‘our customers don’t need us, we need them,’ and 2020 marked a year where we all needed to work together to weather the storm,” Rubino said. “These efforts were just a small way to say ‘thank you.’”
Progressive Grocer first reported on the impending Woodward Corner Market rollout under the retailer's neighborhood-market concept in August 2019. The concept focuses on bringing fresh food and value to customers in a market-like setting. The 41,000-square-foot store is the second such location for Meijer. The first was Bridge Street Market, which opened in August 2018 in the retailer's hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
However, the Woodward Corner Market location was the retailer's first store not to use single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout. Instead, it offers two alternative reusable — and 100% recyclable — plastic bags for purchase. These bags are third-party verified to be used up to 125 times before needing to be replaced.
Meijer operates more than 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 19 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.