Tuesday’s groundbreaking for the Meijer superstore was heralded as the beginning of a new commercial partnership and also the culmination of a six-year effort to bring the Michigan-based retailer to Flossmoor.
“We’ve seen this project move from vision to plan to reality,” Mayor Paul Braun said, speaking in the shadows of giant earth-moving equipment on a sun-dappled day. He pointed to numerous steps over the last two decades leading to the construction of the Meijer complex at Vollmer Road and Crawford Avenue.
Scores of local officials were on hand for the groundbreaking. Construction of the 192,000 square foot Meijer store will take place through this fall, with interior work continuing over the winter. It is expected to open next spring.
Flossmoor purchased the 91-acre parcel 24 years ago, Braun said. Since then, the village has cleared the property and made infrastructure improvements through the creation of a tax increment financing district.
Braun gave credit to former Mayor Roger Molski, who wrote a letter to the Meijer family in 2009 suggesting that Flossmoor would be an ideal location for a store. Meijer officials agreed and plans for the store have subsequently been in the works.
Other local governmental agencies – H-F High School District 233, Flossmoor School District 161, the Flossmoor Public Library and the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District – also deserve credit for their support of the project over the years, Braun said.
Braun called Meijer “a really great company” that reaches out to its communities through programs that benefit local food pantries, churches and not-for-profit groups and residents who need help with their pharmacy bills.
Gerald Melville, Meijer’s group vice president for operations, said he is “ecstatic” that construction of the Flossmoor store is finally under way. “This is a great area and we are glad to be here,” he said.
“We are excited to be part of this community and watch it continue to thrive,” Melville said.
Meijer has 18 stores in the Chicago area. Every one of those stores helps support the community, he said.
“The fundamental philosophy of supporting the communities we serve has remained at the heart of our company as it has grown through the years,” Melville said. “As our company continues to grow, we continue following what our founder suggested 81 years ago: ‘Take care of your customers, team members and community…and all of them will take care of you, just like a family.’”
Melville said construction of a Meijer superstore generally creates about 600 building trade jobs.
“That will also be very good for the community,” he said.
The store, when completed, will offer a wide range of grocery and general merchandise, including national brands, a full service pharmacy, electronics and photo department and lawn/garden center. Melville said Meijer will offer more than 600 types of fresh produce, a full-service deli and meat counter and fresh bread baked four times a day.
Molski lauded the start of construction as the result of “a successful team effort.”
“This is a great day for Flossmoor and the surrounding communities,” he said. “This will be one of your most successful stores.”