Owner of Meijer stores dies

Nov. 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Frederik Meijer, philanthropist and creator of the successful Meijer store chain, died in Michigan, his family said in a statement.

"Fred Meijer, chairman emeritus of Meijer Corp., passed away Friday evening, Nov. 25, at the Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, Mich., after suffering a stroke in his home in the early morning hours," the statement said. Meijer would have turned 92 next month.

Meijer, along with his father Hendrik, is credited with inventing the supercenter store format made popular by Walmart, The Grand Rapids Press reported Saturday.

The billionaire was an advocate for civil rights, affirmative action and women's rights throughout his life and was a member of the Urban League. Meijer had invested millions into West Michigan and neighboring states -- Meijer stores employ about 60,000 employees in 200 stores across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky, the newspaper said.

Forbes Magazine listed Meijer Inc. as the 15th largest privately owned company in the country in 2010, with estimated annual sales of $14.25 billion. Meijer was listed as 145th on the magazine's world's richest people with an estimated worth of $5 billion the same year.

He is survived by his wife Lena, and three sons, Hank, Doug and Mark.

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