posted September 11, 2008

Lecture Will Share Story of Meijer Inc. Founder

The inaugural presentation of a new lecture series at Hope College will both feature and be delivered by members of the family for whom it is named.

Hank Meijer, who is co-chairman and CEO of Meijer Inc., will present "One Immigrant's Odyssey:  Hendrik Meijer, from the Old Country to the New Store" on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center through the college's new Meijer Lecture Series.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The Meijer Lecture Series is an endowed lectureship established through the support of the Meijer Foundation.  Coordinated by the Joint Archives of Holland, the lecturership will bring a noted historian to Hope annually to deliver a free lecture to the Hope and Holland communities.

A Dutch immigrant, Hendrik Meijer and his 14-year-old son Fred opened the first Meijer store in 1934 in Greenville.  Today Meijer Inc. operates a chain of 181 self-service combination supermarket-discount department stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Hank Meijer, who is Hendrik Meijer's grandson and Fred's son, joined the family retail business at the age of 11 as a bagger.  After serving as a reporter for a southeast Michigan suburban newspaper group, he became editor and later publisher of "The Crier," a weekly newspaper in Plymouth.  He rejoined Meijer in 1979 as assistant advertising director and became marketing director in 1983.

His publications include the book "Thrifty Years," a biography of Hendrik Meijer published in 1984.  His articles on Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg have been published in the "Michigan Historical Review," and he also wrote the entry on the senator for Simon and Schuster's "Encyclopedia of the United States Congress."

Hank Meijer is vice-chair of the Gerald R. Ford Museum Foundation and vice president of the Grand Rapids Area Council for the Humanities, and serves on the boards of Fifth Third Bank, the Kettering Foundation and the Food Marketing Institute.

The Haworth Inn and Conference Center is located at 225 College Ave., between Ninth and 10th streets.