GRAND RAPIDS, Mich—A public visitation and private memorial service have been scheduled for Meijer Inc. Chairman Emeritus and retail pioneer Frederik Meijer, who died Friday at the age of 91.
The billionaire and former CEO of Meijer Inc. died Friday night at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids after suffering a stroke early Friday morning.
Shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday, Meijer Inc. public relations announced that Fred Meijer's public visitation will be Tuesday followed by a private memorial service Wednesday.
The public visitation is slated from 2 to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids and will be open to the public.
The private memorial service is scheduled for Wednesday and will be closed to the public.
Meijer stores operate in a five-state region. The chain was founded in Greenville, Michigan, by Frederik Meijer's father, Hendrik Meijer, in 1934. Fred Meijer is credited with pioneering the supercenter, one-stop shopping and hypermarket concepts.
The retailer currently operates 197 stores and has over 60,000 employees across Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.
In 1934, at the age of 14, Frederik Meijer began stocking shelves at his father's store, the North Side Grocery in Greenville.
Twelve years later Fred Meijer would marry Lena Rader, who worked at Meijer as a cashier.
In 1995 the Frederik Meijer Botanical Gardens opened to the public in Grand Rapids in April, fulfilling a dream of the grocery pioneer.
During the dedication of the new store on Greenville's west side in 2001, Meijer told FOX 17, "We've had so many loyal customers--we call them guests, because we like to treat them like guests, over years, because they become friends."
In 2004, during the dedication of the Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center in downtown Grand Rapids, Amway co-founder Rich Devos spoke warmly of his friend. "Fred didn't forget where he came from. And the power of his business is centered here. The management is still here, his heart is still here," DeVos said.
Frederik Meijer was known for saying, "Customers don't need us, we need them." A motto the company still goes by today.
More information on arrangements will be forthcoming according to a statement from the company. The Meijer family thanked everyone for their thoughts and prayers in the same statement.