New Meijer store in Chicago suburb continues trend: Specialty grocers remain hot even in down economy

Retailer and community officials were on hand when Meijer Marketplace celebrated its Aug. 14 opening in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn.

Specialty grocery stores are becoming major attractions in urban areas. Look at the biggest city markets across the Midwest and you’ll find gourmet and organic grocery stores popping up in the trendiest of neighborhoods. And in the suburbs you’ll see new mega-grocery stores setting up shops.

That’s because grocers remain safe bets even in tough economic times. People still have to eat. And when times are tough they’re more likely to run to their nearest high-end grocery store than they are to the far higher prices of that trendy new restaurant.

Supermarket chain Meijer offers the latest example of this trend. Nearly one year after launching its first new-format store in the Chicago market, the Meijer Marketplace, Meijer opened another Chicago-area version of this concept, this time opening the Meijer Marketplace Berwyn in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn.

Most Meijer stores, often located in suburban areas, are huge, containing the combination of a grocery store with apparel, hardware, toys and pretty much everything else you’d find at a super-sized version of Wal-Mart. The Meijer Marketplace, though, is a smaller store, more fitting for a busy urban environment.

The Berwyn store offers fresh produce, a meat department and bakery. The new store also carries many local brands such as Vienna, Jays and Papa Charlie’s as well as Hispanic brands such as Cacique, LaLa and Jarritos.

“We are very pleased to continue our growth in the Chicago area,” said Hank Meijer, co-chairman of the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer, in a written statement. “Our team has worked very hard to get our new Berwyn store ready, and we’re proud to bring the Meijer difference to customers in Berwyn and the surrounding communities.”

The new store will have a big impact in this suburban Chicago community. It will rank as Berwyn’s largest retailer and top producer of sales taxes.

Berwyn officials, and those with the Berwyn Development Corporation — who worked hard to bring Meijer to their community — not surprisingly, are thrilled to welcome the new retailer to town.

In a written statement, Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero said, “After assuming my role as mayor, recruiting a high-quality grocery chain into Cermak Plaza was one of my top priorities. I am so pleased to welcome Meijer Marketplace into Berwyn.”

The new Berwyn store is Meijer’s 18th in the Chicago area.

– Dan Rafter

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One Response to New Meijer store in Chicago suburb continues trend: Specialty grocers remain hot even in down economy

  1. Larger grocer’s should be worried. The smaller one’s like Trader Joes and Whole Foods nail the customer service experience. I’m happy paying more for a better experience.

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