LETTER: Store’s new acquisition not in line with the Fred Meijer way of business
To the editor:
Fred Meijer is legendary as the founder of a chain of almost 200 stores, Meijer Gardens/ Sculpture Park, with contributions to Meijer Trailways and other philanthropic causes.
Another successful entrepreneur and businessman, Tommy Thompson, started Liberty Dairy, in Big Rapids in the mid 1950s. Meijer stores became one of their customers. Tommy later became the exclusive supplier of dairy products to all of the Michigan Meijer stores. As their business grew, Liberty Dairy relocated to Evart in the mid 1960s to provide additional space and capacity. The dairy has expanded numerous times since then. Later Tommy would sell Liberty Dairy to Dean Foods. For more than 50 years Liberty Dairy has enjoyed a positive business relationship with Meijer. Liberty Dairy — Dean Foods has been a generous corporate contributor to Meijer Gardens and the Lena Meijer farm at Meijer Gardens.
On March 28, 2012, a Meijer press release read, “Meijer Acquires Bareman’s Dairy Plant, Announces New “Purple Cow Creamery.” It appears this may be the first, Liberty Dairy, was aware of a potential loss of more than 80 percent of their business. The dairy has been a mainstay in Evart, providing over 200 good jobs, and a substantial tax base to the community. Star Trucking also opened an Evart facility to maintain and service the trucks used by the dairy for deliveries.
Corporations without a conscious seems all too common these days. My impression was Meijer was an excellent corporate neighbor. To turn their back on one of their largest and long standing suppliers, not to mention the small northern Michigan town of Evart, sounds like another greedy, large corporation. It doesn’t sound like Fred Meijer values and the way he would do business.