New Meijer opens in Sault Ste. Marie
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich (WPBN/WGTU) -- The wait is over for shoppers in Chippewa County. A long awaited Meijer store opened its door Thursday morning in Sault Ste. Marie.
Along with a store in Escanaba that also opened Thursday, they are the first Mejier stores to open in the Upper Peninsula.
A fired up staff was ready for their first day in business after more than six weeks of preparation.
"For months and months, the biggest question is 'when is this store opening... today's the day." said Sandy Molosky.
At 7 a.m., more than a dozen eager shoppers were already lined up outside. Theresa Miller was the first shopper through the door and is happy that she won't have to travel below the bridge for groceries anymore.
"I have gone all the way down to Petoskey and I've always stopped at Meijer there as a mtter of act, we kind of feel isolated from the rest of the world in Sault Ste Marie, said Theresa. "So of course every time I went down below the bridge I tired to stop at Meijer."
The store celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony, bringing in groups from around the Soo area.
Before the Sool location, the closet Meijer was in Petoskey. Hank Meijer says he had been eyeing the Soo for a new location for awhile.
The Soo, between both the American side and the Canadian side can clearly support a store and we've had customers shopping with us in Traverse City and Petoskey and Gaylord for years, driving all that distance and I think it's over due. I was one of the people in our company who said for years that we ought to be in the Soo and so this is just an exciting day."
The store already employed about three hundred people in the area. The Soo Area Chamber of Commerce sees the new store as a win-win.
"When you have a corporation like Meijer coming into a community and the number of people they employ for our area it's just a win-win for everybody and I think it will increase people that are coming into our economy, grow our economy and it's just been a plus for them to be here today."
Shoppers here said they're excited about the new Meijer because of it's selection but it's not just the regular name brands. Shoppers can also pick up local produce like apples grown right here in Michigan. They can even find brands from the U.P. like Trenery Toast or even a Yooper lager.
Connie Leask already had her shopping list ready the night before.
"I got a lot of groceries, lots of produce, stuff I didn't need, but you know what we're having a ball, we're having fun."
The Meijer stores in both Sault Ste Marie and Escanaba will be now open 24 hours a day. On Sunday, the first 200 customers to both stores will get a mystery gift card worth up to $20.