In 1934, a modest local barber in Greenville, Michigan had a need and saw an opportunity. It was the middle of the Great Depression and groceries were scarce. In an effort to take care of the customers who visited his barbershop, Hendrik Meijer purchased $328.76 worth of merchandise on credit. Together with his 14-year-old son, Fred, they opened North Side Grocery.
Meijer continued to look for ways to innovate and provide higher levels of service to his customers. He renamed his store Meijer's Grocery and began broadening his business through the use of newspaper ads and fancy metal shopping carts. As World War II raged, Hendrik pledged his company's support to the war effort, and just like the Arsenal of Democracy, women became a key part of the Meijer workforce, numbering nearly half of all team members.