DETROIT (WOOD) - As Detroit faces difficult times and only days after it declared bankruptcy, West Michigan-based Meijer is making a major investment in the struggling city.
Meijer and city officials were on hand Wednesday evening for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a brand new, $20 million Meijer supercenter store at the old state fairgrounds property near 8 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue.
"If we want Michigan to be a great place to live, its largest city has to do a whole lot better," Co-CEO Hank Meijer said at the event. "The competitors aren't here yet. This is one case where I think it will be great for us and for the city if they follow."
The Meijer store opened its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday, and will be open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
It has yet to be seen whether the new franchise location could hurt the chain store.
"We know that it presents some challenges that not every store presents and so there's risks inherent in that, but we think its well worth it and we hope this is only the first store we build in Detroit," Hank Meijer said.
It might be a surprise to some that the superstore giant, which has more than half of its some 200 stores here in Michigan, has in 80 years never had a Detroit store.
"There were just many different regulatory and business hurdles to go through to arrive at this point. It wasn't like buying a 40-acre parcel on the edge of town," Hank Meijer explained.
Detroit police will be stationed at the nearby Meijer gas station for security reasons.
West Michigan's Rockford Construction was in charge of the building.
"Detroit's so critical to our success and anything that you can add jobs to the community I think is powerful," Mike VanGessel of Rockford Construction said.
A store in downtown Grand Rapids, however, does not appear to be in the immediate future.
"We look forward to more stores in the Grand Rapids area. We don't have any more sites in the City of Grand Rapids right now," Hank Meijer told 24 Hour News 8.
An observation survey was conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.
Michigan State Police has added eight new canine teams and four replacement teams that graduated from the MSP 2013 Basic Canine School Dec. 6.
The bill was drafted after Jessica Heeringa was abducted from her job in April.