- Meijer plans to open Rivertown Market, its fourth small-format grocery store in Michigan, on Oct. 6, the retailer announced Thursday.
- The 42,000-square-foot location, at 1475 East Jefferson Ave. in Detroit's East Jefferson Corridor will carry a "vast assortment" of fresh and prepared foods, including about 2,000 local artisan products. It will also feature a branch of Great Lakes Coffee and a broad array of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.
- Meijer's decision to introduce relatively compact stores to complement its core fleet of large-scale superstores reflects a trend among supermarket operators to develop locations that are substantially smaller than their standard stores.
Long known for sprawling stores jammed with a hefty selection of products that includes many non-food items, Meijer has been stepping up its focus on scaled-down stores closely attuned to the tastes of local grocery shoppers.
At roughly a fifth the size of the 200,000-square-foot box typical of Meijer's approximately 250 superstores, Rivertown Market is the latest in a string of locations in the 40,000-square-foot range the company has built in recent years. All of those stores eschew Meijer's traditional mass-market approach to retailing in favor of an urban-focused vibe designed to appeal to convenience-minded food shoppers.
Meijer opened the first of its small-format grocery stores, the 37,000-square foot Bridge Street Market, in 2018 in its hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The retailer debuted Woodward Corner Market, its second store based on the concept, in Detroit in January 2020, and followed up with Capital City Market in Lansing, Michigan, last October.
The upcoming Rivertown Market, which Meijer announced in late 2020, is a central component of a project by the city of Detroit to revitalize the East Jefferson Corridor, in part by improving access to grocery stores. The new, pedestrian-friendly store will devote nearly 5,000 square feet to its produce department, which will feature a wet wall, and boast 23-foot ceilings. The location's alcohol section will be equipped with a rolling ladder and feature a 14-foot-tall liquor wall.
Meijer's interest in stores that depart from the superstore design that has long defined the company extends beyond the small-format grocery stores it has been adding to its portfolio. Earlier in 2021, Meijer received approval from planning officials in Orion Township, Michigan, north of Detroit, to build a 90,000-square-foot store that would carry a large variety of groceries but also feature some of the general merchandise the company's superstores are known for.
Other food retailers have also been paying attention to smaller store designs. In August, for example, Schnuck Markets opened a fresh-focused supermarket in Jasper, Indiana, that is much smaller than the St. Louis-based chain's traditional locations. The 18,000-square-foot store reflects what industry analysts said is an emerging need for grocers to build smaller stores to keep pace with evolving consumer needs.